Progressive U.S. lawmakers on Monday took House Republicans to task after the Congressional Budget Office said the erstwhile deficit hawks’ first bill before the 118th Congress—a measure critics say is meant to “protect wealthy and corporate tax cheats”—will swell the federal deficit by more than $100 billion.
“They all run on reducing the deficit and now the House GOP’s first… bill will increase the deficit by $114 billion,” tweeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). “Make it make sense.”
Increasing the federal deficit can help people and the economy. Republicans have been criticized for hypocritically pushing cuts to social safety net programs in the name of fiscal responsibility while being willing to raise the deficit to help corporations and the rich.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the euphemistically named Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act—which faces a vote as soon as Monday evening—would “decrease outlays by $71 billion and decrease receipts by $186 billion over the 2023-2032 period.”
That’s because the legislation would rescind $72 billion of $80 billion worth of new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) funding authorized under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed by the Demorcat-controlled 117th Congress and signed into law last year by President Joe Biden.
In a December 30 letter to colleagues, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) said the proposed bill “rescinds tens of billions of dollars allocated to the IRS for 87,000 new IRS agents” under the IRA, a GOP talking point that has been widely debunked.
“Today, Republicans in Congress demonstrated their commitment to ‘fiscal responsibility,'” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sardonically tweeted. “The first bill advanced by the GOP adds $114 billion to the deficit—by allowing the super-wealthy to cheat their taxes while everyone else pays. Corporate lobbyists are popping champagne.”
Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) lamented that the “first order of business in the GOP House of Representatives” will be to “vote to increase the deficit $114 BILLION by letting tax cheats dodge paying what they owe.”
“Once again,” she added, “they’re putting politics over poor and working people.”
Advocacy groups also questioned GOP lawmakers’ motives for introducing the bill, with Americans for Tax Fairness tweeting that “House Republicans are using their new majority to try and repeal IRS funding that will make rich and corporate tax cheats pay what they owe.”
“The GOP wants to let their rich friends keep cheating the rest of us,” the group added.