WASHINGTON—Democrats are negotiating a new version of President Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda that they hope to pass via reconciliation before the August recess. They are pushing this $1 trillion spending package despite new numbers released Wednesday showing inflation increasing to 9.1%, another record high. The package would only cause already historic inflation to spike even higher. Additionally, even amidst a historic economic downturn, this radical reconciliation bill offers only dramatic tax increases, increased regulatory burdens, benefits for the well-connected, more government control of our health care, and a bloated bureaucracy designed to suppress freedom.
Nina Owcharenko Schaefer, director of Heritage’s Center for Health and Welfare Policy, released the following statement on the package’s language enacting government price controls on Medicare’s prescription drug program:
“The Medicare Part D prescription drug program provides affordable coverage with no government price controls. Imposing price controls will damage the program, limit seniors’ access and discourage the development of new cures and treatments for seniors to live longer and healthier lives.
“Government price controls on pharmaceuticals is just the first step in imposing price controls across the entire health care sector, pushing the country closer to a full-blown government-run health care system that will lead to government rationing and limit access to care.”
Preston Brashers, Heritage Foundation senior policy analyst in tax policy, released the following statement regarding the tax increases expected to make it into the package:
“There’s no good time to raise taxes, but it’s an especially bad time when the country may already be in a recession. Yet, President Biden and congressional Democrats are pushing for a reported $1 trillion tax hike as the economy sputters, and everyday items are more expensive.
“Legislators usually avoid tax hikes during recessions, knowing that piling on with new taxes will only further slow the economy and cost American jobs. In 2010, even Sen. Manchin said, ‘I don’t think during a time of recession you mess with any of the taxes or increase any taxes.’ He was right then, but he is now pushing this travesty of a proposal that would increase taxes most on small businesses and increase the burden on tens of millions of Americans.”
Katie Tubb, research fellow for energy and environmental issues at The Heritage Foundation, released the following statement on the devastating climate provisions in the package:
“This isn’t climate policy—it’s old-fashioned cronyism. Hundreds of billions of dollars in tax favors and other government subsidies for renewable energy technologies only shift heavier burdens on American taxpayers to shoulder policy Congress cannot afford.
“These proposals completely ignore root policy problems driving up energy prices and have long been contributing to the energy affordability and reliability problems Americans are suffering. The Biden administration and allies in Congress are not only actively harming Americans with policies to limit domestic production of conventional energy, but are adding insult to injury by forcing Americans to go along with a radical ‘transition’ to energy sources that cost more and offer less.”
BACKGROUND: Over the last two years, the federal government has spent record amounts of taxpayer dollars, run up record-setting deficits, issued unconstitutional orders, imposed more control over businesses and state governments, and caused the worst economic crisis in decades. The result is a return to 1970s-style stagflation, with the average worker $1,800 poorer, and 2.9 million fewer people employed than the pre-pandemic rate.
The destructive policies of the Biden administration and the monetary malfeasance of the Federal Reserve have created this economic mess. Blame for the inflation crisis lies squarely with them. But instead of taking responsibility for these inexcusable price policies and promising to change course, the president has continued blaming others.
Biden boasts that “millions of Americans are getting jobs with better pay” and that “families have increased their savings and have less debt” since January 2021. But in the real world, prices are rising at the fastest rate in more than 40 years, gasoline just reached an all-time high, and housing costs have hit all-time inflation-adjusted records.
The Biden administration has waged a regulatory war on affordable energy production, only to continue blaming oil and gas companies for high prices inflamed by those very same regulations and policies. Heritage Foundation modeling found that the Biden administration's plan to overhaul the energy sector would cost the economy over $7 trillion dollars, reduce employment by over 1 million jobs in the first two decades, and increase per-gallon costs of gas $2 every year—without even achieving the administration's climate targets.
Congressional Democrats have convinced themselves that the solution to problems caused by the federal government is even more centralized power in Washington, even more spending, and even more job-killing burdens on businesses. Politicians are seemingly tone-deaf to economic realities and the problems they’ve created.