Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Republican Leader's Designee to the Budget Committee, delivered the following opening remarks while managing today's Rule onSenate Amendment to H.R. 5376 – "Inflation Reduction Act."
As Prepared for Delivery:
Today’s rule provides for consideration of the Senate amendment to H.R. 5376, the so-called Inflation Reduction Act. This is the second time we have seen this legislative vehicle as Democrats continue to try and push through their partisan budget reconciliation package. I sit on the Budget Committee. We did not mark up a budget resolution for fiscal year 2022, instead it was deemed passed in a rule without any floor consideration. This bill is a reconfigured Build Back Better Act that the House already passed.
This bill had no Republican input. Despite its name, it will have a negligible effect on inflation. President Biden has stated that this bill will reduce “inflationary pressures.” That is not the same thing as actually reducing inflation. In fact, when you remove the sunsets in the bill and assume that all spending is extended out through the ten-year budget window, this bill actually spends $745 billion and adds $148 billion to the national debt. After Democrats pushed through a $1.9 trillion reconciliation package in the spring of 2021, billions of dollars more in spending is the last thing American consumers need in the middle of record high inflation.
To combat this inflation, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates by 2.25 percent since March of this year – the fastest cumulative rate hike in 40 years.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the increase in interest rates will cost taxpayers an extra $100 billion this year alone.
Let me describe for you what is costing Americans so much. There are severe negative impacts of implementing government drug price controls, which are included in this bill. However, what most people do not understand is the effect this reconciliation package will have on each health care practice in America.
At the end of this year, physicians are expecting a 0% payment update, the reduction of the 4.5% Medicare conversion factor, and the adoption of several changes to the Evaluation and Management (E/M) Current Procedural Terminology codes.
Under this legislation, we will see changes to Part B drug reimbursements that would lead to an average of a 40% cut for health care providers. Yesterday during the Rules Committee meeting, I offered an amendment with Dr. Murphy to fix this problem. Unfortunately, it was rejected.
The confluence of these cuts threatens the sustainability of medical practices and will lead to physicians closing their doors. To make matters worse, the providers that would be affected work in fields such as Oncology, Rheumatology, Interventional Pain Management, Hematology, Internal Medicine, and Gastroenterology.
I never thought I would be up here fighting to save specialty practices, especially oncology, which focuses on the treatment of cancer. As these practices close, care will shift to hospitals and raise costs across the board. Ultimately, the combined financial pressures will result in limited access to treatment for patients, including those in rural areas. Following a major pandemic and a health care workforce shortage, we should be encouraging physicians to keep their practices open in order to have a stable health care system.
If this bill is passed into law, millions of patients could die waiting for new drugs and cures that will no longer be developed in their lifetime. I have heard directly from providers that potentially millions of patients will be affected if physicians close their doors. This bill is anti-doc and anti-patient, and we will see the consequences after final passage.
This reconciliation bill also includes numerous green new deal provisions. There is a tax on natural gas tax production that will be passed on to the consumer, making it harder to heat homes and buy groceries. The bill establishes a Department of Energy Loan Guarantee at $250 billion to support greenhouse gas reduction projects. This is very similar to the program that funded Solyndra, a failed investment that cost the American taxpayer $500 million.
There is also an energy efficiency home appliance rebate program to allow the wealthy to update their homes, to the tune of $9 billion, and a $1 billion program to electrify garbage trucks and school buses. The bill includes a $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund at the Environmental Protection Agency that will be a slush fund for green projects.
It also reinstates the Superfund excise tax on crude oil and imported petroleum that could result in an additional $11 billion tax burden on our oil and gas industry in the midst of record high gas prices.
Last, this bill includes a $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles that must be made with a certain percentage of minerals mined in the United States or countries with U.S. free trade agreements. Most of these minerals come from China and Russia. There is not a single electric vehicle currently on the market that complies with this provision, and the European Union recently warned that this may violate World Trade Organization domestic content and local assembly rules.
I could continue, but let me highlight some of the tax increases that Americans will face. This bill creates a 15% minimum book tax on companies, but it includes exclusions for green new deal tax credits. A fix to the carried interest loophole was axed in the Senate and replaced with a one-year extension of the State and Local Tax (SALT) cap. But to appease one Senator, this was removed and replaced with a pass-through loss limitation, which will prohibit pass-throughs from claiming a certain amount of loss. Democrats have chosen to protect individuals in high tax states over Main Street businesses.
There is also a 1% excise tax on stock buybacks, which will harm retirement investments, there are extensions of production tax credits for renewables, and $80 billion for the Internal Revenue Service, including 87,000 new employees.
This is a 600% IRS funding increase over last year and a doubling of the number of employees. The best accounting firms are currently struggling to hire CPAs; how is the IRS going to attract qualified individuals? This will only create tax technicians who could be injurious to citizens if not properly trained. Americans deserve better.