AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris
During an all-night debate session this past weekend over Democrats’ misleadingly titled “Inflation Reduction Act” (IRA), Senate Republicans used a procedural move known as a “vote-a-rama” to force votes on dozens of amendments to the bill. While Republicans knew they were powerless to block final passage of the legislation, their amendments offered a rare opportunity for Republicans to force Democrats to vote on the record on critical issues facing the country. In a series of votes that are sure to make a reappearance in attack ads this fall, Democrats killed every Republican amendment – making clear that they have no interest in bipartisanship or moderation, despite what individual members may say to the media.
Here are just a few proposed amendments that Democrats rejected.
1. Amendment to prevent the IRS from targeting taxpayers making less than $400,000
Following passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats touted that the bill would impose “no new taxes” on Americans making less than $400,000 a year. But according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, the bill will result in an increased tax burden of tens of billions of dollars on Americans in every income bracket. The bill allocates some $80 billion dollars for what Democrats are referring to as “closing loopholes” and “enforcing the tax code”- with the end result being that the government will collect hundreds of billions more in taxes next year.
And just who will be “enforcing” the tax code? An army of 87,000 new IRS agents that the bill provides the funds to hire. Democrats have insisted that a massively expanded IRS will only focus on large corporations and very wealthy individuals. But when Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho introduced an amendment that would limit those 87,000 new agents to only auditing companies or individuals worth more than $400,000, every single Senate Democrat voted against it. It seems likely that small businesses and ordinary Americans can expect a new wave of audits starting next year.
2. Amendment to provide funding for continued implementation of Title 42
As millions of illegal aliens continue to cross America’s unsecured southern border, Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma offered an amendment that would have provided more funding for Title 42 to help border patrol agents stem the tide of illegal immigration. Every Senate Democrat voted against the amendment – including vulnerable incumbents like Catherine Cortez-Masto of Nevada and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire who have attempted to stake out a hardline stance on border security in the media to boost their reelection prospects.
3. Amendment to deport illegal aliens convicted of a crime
In another attempt to help alleviate the border crisis, Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee introduced an amendment to “ensure that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has sufficient resources to detain and deport a greater number of illegal aliens who have been convicted of a criminal offense in the United States.” Just one year ago, four Senate Democrats supported the same amendment, and it was adopted by the Senate. But now, with the border crisis even worse, all 50 Democrats voted it down.
4. Amendment to protect access to breakthrough medical treatments
Aside from the more than $300 billion in climate provisions in the IRA, Democrats’ other big “win” in the bill were its healthcare provisions. But as Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas – a licensed physician – warned in a press release, “the Democrat-led bill will leave the U.S. with at least 15% fewer drugs developed and brought to market in the next 17 years. Additionally, it would threaten access to next-generation treatment and care for patients with life-threatening illnesses.”
In response, Senator Marshall introduced an amendment that would exclude certain breakthrough and experimental medications and treatments from the price control schemes outlined in the bill. All 50 Senate Democrats voted down the amendment, ensuring that American medical innovation is likely to take a big hit in the coming years.
5. Amendment to expedite permitting reform and boost domestic energy production and infrastructure development
In a one-page summary of the IRA, Senate Democrats promised that after passing the bill, they would push for “comprehensive Permitting reform legislation to be passed before the end of the fiscal year” – ostensibly to help boost domestic energy production and expedite much-needed infrastructure projects currently bogged down in the unwieldy and overly-complex federal permitting process. But Republicans showed they had good reason to be skeptical that any reforms would actually be considered when every Senate Democrat voted against an amendment from Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia that offered such changes along with the bill.
6. Amendment to restore U.S. energy independence
By now, the devastating effects of the Biden administration’s war on American energy are clear to see, from sky-high gas prices to the threat of blackouts throughout the country. To help alleviate this condition and restore U.S. energy independence, Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana offered an amendment that would have required to the Department of the Interior “to authorize two leases per year for five years in the Gulf of Mexico to oil producers” and “one lease in the Cook Inlet” – massively expanding U.S. domestic production capabilities and creating thousands of jobs. Every Senate Democrat voted no.
7. Amendment preventing the export of crude oil from the U.S. strategic petroleum reserves to China
Toward the end of debate over the bill, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas introduced an amendment that would have prevented the exportation of more crude oil from the U.S. strategic reserves to China after it was revealed that the Biden administration sold more than a million barrels of oil to the Communist country last month. This seemingly should have been a slam dunk for both parties to be strong on China and take credit for securing America’s energy supplies. However, Democrats raised what’s known as a “budget point of order” triggering a 60-vote threshold for passage. Though four Democrats voted with Republicans, they did so with full understanding that the amendment would not pass and be included in the bill.
8. Amendment to provide discounted insulin for middle- and low-income Americans
Rising insulin prices have long been an issue both Republicans and Democrats have promised to tackle. Yet when Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana offered an amendment that would redirect misallocated Obamacare funds to community health centers to provide discounted insulin and epinephrine for those in need, all 50 Senate Democrats voted it down.
As the House speeds toward a vote on the IRA on Friday, the bill looks set to head to President Joe Biden’s desk for final signature. Despite the fact that Republicans control half the seats in the Senate and Democrats hold only a four-seat margin in the House, Republicans will have had no input on the bill. Though Biden and the media are already labeling the legislation a monumental victory, it will come at the cost of exposing just how extreme Democrats have become – something voters are unlikely to take kindly to when they head to the ballot box this November.
Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @Shane_Harris_
We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...
Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.Donate Now