COLUMBUS, Ohio – The November 19 vote of congressional Democrats to pass the Build Back Better Act cornucopia of social spending and policies unleashed a wave of criticism from Ohio’s GOP U.S. representatives united in a fear of unbridled inflation and an expanded federal government.
U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-02) criticized the $1.85 trillion package – even at half of its original cost – as “Build Back Broke” for its effect on the national debt while U.S. Representative Robert Latta (R-OH-05) called House Resolution 5376 a “wish-list spending spree” by Democrats.
Congressional Democrats led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have used the bill as a catch-all spending package to advance many progressive policies as well. The bill costs half of the original version passed earlier this year in a bid to get all U.S. Senate Democrats to support it.
U.S. Representative David Joyce (R-OH-14) said the bill’s price tag remains too big and will cost more than advertised.
“For months, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have tried to promote this massive, $1.85 trillion tax-and-spend bill as a cure for our struggling economy, falsely claiming it wouldn’t cost a thing,” Joyce said in a press release shared with The Ohio Star. “But the reality is that it will bankrupt future generations, hammer working families and small businesses with massive tax hikes, increase already surging inflation, and cripple our economy.”
He added, “With inflation surpassing a 30-year high and the national debt rapidly approaching $29 trillion, now is not the time for Congress to double down on failed economic policies.”
Joyce said the list of “the most egregious provisions” of the $4 trillion in spending during the next 10 years will result in:
- perpetuating labor shortages by eliminating work requirements to receive welfare benefits for able-bodied adults at a time of 10 million job openings;
- providing nearly $80 billion to the IRS, which could allow the agency to double in size and increase audits for everyday Americans;
- raising taxes on natural gas, increasing home heating costs, electricity rates and gas prices;
- burdening small businesses with $412 billion in new taxes;
- providing federal funding for abortions by ignoring bipartisan Hyde Amendment protections;
- increasing our dependencies on resources supplied by Russia and China by impeding domestic energy and mineral production; and
- establishing a minimum tax on anything “Made in America,” ensuring more of the everyday items Americans use are made in China and delivered on container ships – worsening our current supply chain crisis.
Latta said the spending risks even more inflation.
“The government cannot continue spending money and expect there to be no consequences,” Latta said in a post on his congressional website.
“There are important issues facing our country, and Congress has a responsibility to work together to address the nation’s problems,” he added. “Instead of focusing on policies that would ease the burden being placed on Americans, Democrats crafted a far-left, irresponsible, and unprecedented spending bill without Republican input.”
U.S. Representative Mike Carey (R-OH-15) also tore into what he called a “reckless” bill and a recipe for expansion of the federal government and even higher inflation.
“House Democrats have voted to condemn the American people to higher prices and higher taxes at a time in which they can least afford it,” the newest member of the Ohio GOP congressional delegation said in a post-vote statement.
“This $4.5 trillion dollar spending scam will increase taxes by $1.5 trillion, bring the largest expansion of the welfare state in our lifetime, add 87,000 IRS agents to spy on our bank accounts, impose Green New Deal policies including a natural gas tax hike that will raise home electric costs by 30 percent, and much, much more that will devastate our economy.”
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-02) also warned about increasing pressures on prices for people and businesses.
“As Americans face record inflation, the Democrats’ multi-trillion dollar ‘Build Back Broke’ plan will only worsen price increases, expand the role of government in almost everyone’s life, and hand out favors to privileged special interests,” he said in the statement.
“Further, the bill’s tax hikes on American businesses will worsen our supply chain crisis, boost overseas competitors, and give places like China better tax treatment than the United States.”
U.S. Senate candidates weigh in
The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate, where the fate of the bill rests with U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) two holdouts whom President Biden courted by lowering the sticker price on the legislation and taking out a few other provisions.
If supporters get those two on board, it will create a 50-50 tie, with the expectation Vice President Kamala Harris would break the tie.
Current U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) opposes the bill along with the solid ranks of Senate Republicans against the bill.
Three of seven GOP candidates vying to replace Portman in the November 2022 general election also sent in statements to The Star in the wake of the Build Back Better vote.
Senate candidate and former Ohio Republican Chairwoman Jane Timken, in an email, called Build Back Better “a scam of a bill.”
“The Build Back Bankrupt bill is cradle-to-grave government dependency,” Timken said, “that will usher in a socialist transformation of our country.”
Competitor Mike Gibbons tied the Democrats’ party-line vote to Harris’ trip to Columbus right after the bill’s passage to drum up support.
“While Kamala Harris attempts to sell the disastrous spending deal to Ohioans, it is certain she will gloss over the invasion at our border, the growing national debt, skyrocketing inflation, and a supply chain crisis caused by the Biden administration’s inept policies,” the Cleveland area business said in a press release.
“America is broke,” Gibbons added, “and the last thing our struggling economy needs is more reckless and unnecessary spending.”
“This bill taxes too much, spends too much, balloons the national debt and will explode the present inflation crisis that is already restricting economic growth and crushing Ohio families and businesses,” he said.
“Bloated federal spending bills such as this make it clear to the American people that not only must Republicans reclaim the Senate,” he said, noting his Ohio Senate experience, “but that voters must elect leaders with a proven record of conservative success when it comes to cutting taxes, reducing regulation and balancing budgets.”
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Brian R. Ball is a veteran Columbus journalist writing for The Ohio Star and Star News Network. Send him news tips to [email protected]