Lankford Calls Out Democrats’ Almost Comically Misnamed Inflation Reduction Act for What It Really Is
CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks on YouTube.
CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks on Rumble.
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today took his Democrat colleagues to task on their so-called “Inflation Reduction Act,” which Lankford reinforced time and time again in his remarks does not reduce inflation and does not decrease the deficit. Instead, Lankford says this massive tax-and-spend spree will lead to increased taxes on virtually every American, a potential 17-percent increase in natural gas prices, increased inflation, decreased US manufacturing, punitive taxes on small businesses, and higher prices for Americans overall. Lankford cited numerous specific examples of provisions in the bill being sold to the American people as reducing inflation that are almost comically not associated with inflation reduction at all and likely will cause the opposite.
One of the Democrats’ touted supposed drug-pricing strategies won’t kick in until 2026, two years before Medicare is currently set to go insolvent. The bill would also grow the auditing personnel size of the IRS larger than the Pentagon, the State Department, the FBI, and the Border Patrol, which means more audits for Americans of all tax brackets, Lankford says.
Lankford continues to oppose Biden’s obsession with raising taxes on businesses, even during the worst inflation we’ve seen in 40 years, to pay for his radical climate-change agenda from the failed Green New Deal, which Oklahomans have made clear they do not want.
Hans Christian Anderson in 1837 wrote a story about group think. It’s called "The Emperor Has No Clothes." It begins with a leader that really loved his clothes. Some unsavory characters saw that. They set up a weaving loom to make the finest clothes in the land, but were just weaving air. There was nothing to it. The catch was they had sold the story that if you can't see what they're weaving, you must just not be wise. So the Emperor sends a couple of his advisers to check out the weaving to see what it looks like. They see nothing, because there is nothing there. They all declare oh, it's beautiful, it's lovely, because they don't want to be seen as unwise. Then it ends up with the Emperor preparing for a big parade, and that's where I pick up the story from there. Let me read you from Hans Christian Anderson from 1837. When he tries on, quote-unquote, ‘the new clothes,’ it says, they say to him, ‘These scoundrels, these unsavory characters. How well your majesty's new clothes look. Aren't they becoming? The advisors all chirped in. He heard all sides. That pattern is so perfect. Those colors so suitable. It's a magnificent outfit.’ The Minister of Public Processions announced Your Majesty's canopy is waiting outside. I'm supposed to be ready, the Emperor said, turning to the mirror. It's a remarkable fit, isn't it? As he seemed to regard his costume with the greatest interest. The noblemen, who were to carry his train, reached to the floor as if picking up his mantle, then pretended to hold it and lift it high. They didn't dare admit they had nothing to hold.
‘So, off went the Emperor under the splendid canopy. Everyone in the streets and windows said oh, how fine are the Emperor's new clothes? Don't they fit him to perfection? See his long train. Nobody would confess he couldn't see anything, for that would prove he was either unfit for his position or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before ever got such a complete success. But he hasn't got anything on, a little child said. Did you ever hear such innocent prattle, said his father? One person whispered to another what the child had said, he hasn't anything on. A child says he hasn't anything on. Then the whole town cried out at last, but he hasn't got anything on. The Emperor shivered for he suspected they were right, but he thought this procession must go on, so he walked more proudly than ever as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all.’
When the facts come out, it's hard sometimes to admit you're on display. That the bill actually doesn't do what the title says it's supposed to do. This time the bill is called the Inflation Reduction Act. They say it's designed to be able to lower inflation and to reduce the deficit, except now it's been scored and it doesn't actually reduce inflation, and deficit reduction is as visible as the emperor's new clothes. The score for inflation stated in the public scoring, here's the quote it, ‘the impact on inflation is statistically indistinguishable from zero.’ The CBO scored the bill and said, ‘it would have a negligible effect on inflation.’ Remember, this is the bill titled the Inflation Reduction Act. The score deficit on the deficit end, after many on the other side the aisle said it would have $300 billion in deficit reduction is less than a billion.
But wait, there's more to the story on even that $100 billion. More than 200 economists wrote a letter to Senator Schumer detailing how this bill will not reduce inflation, nor reduce the deficit. Taxing more and spending more will only make the problem worse. They closed by saying this statement, ‘the bill deficit reduction is likely to prove illusionary due to implausible spending phase-outs. In summary, we agree with the urgent need to reduce inflation, but the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is a misleading label applied to a bill that would likely achieve the exact opposite effect.’ What they said was, the emperor has no clothes. It doesn't really reduce inflation. At some point, the emperor has to make a decision. Am I going to keep parading through the streets when everyone knows the Inflation Reduction Act doesn't reduce inflation? Or am I going to head back and fix it?
Let me start with just the plan that's in this bill. Here's the bill titled the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. So the plan my Democrat colleagues have laid out, let me give you a couple details in the plan to reduce inflation in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Here's one, up to $4 billion allocated to study cow burping and their production of methane. I'm sure that's going to bring down the price of beef right away. That grocery store price, as I've heard even on the floor today, this is going to bring down the prices at the grocery store by having up to $4 billion allocated to study cow burping. It has $2 billion in construction grants to improve walkability in context-sensitive projects. No one seems to know what the word context-sensitive projects even means, or how $2 billion in construction to improve walkability will bring down inflation.
There’s $3,000 for environmental justice block grants to facilitate workshops. Workshops to bring down inflation. Aren't you confident that the price of eggs and bread will go down after $3 billion is spent on environmental justice workshops? $17 million for consumer-related education and partnerships to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By the way, that's not reducing, that's partnerships to discuss reducing. There is a brand-new tax credit for Elon Musk in this, though. I'm sure that will bring down inflation. Tesla has used up all of its credits for its electric vehicles. This bill renews it and does a special perk for Tesla to give them unlimited new tax credits. I'm sure Elon Musk is thrilled about his unlimited new tax credit to him. And I’m sure all of our prices will go down based on Elon Musk 's new multibillion-dollar tax credit that he gets.
Again, the bill is the Inflation Reduction Act.
There's a new fee on methane, which will raise the price of natural gas, which has been estimated to raise the price of our natural gas to the consumer 17 percent. Seventeen percent increase in our natural gas. Now, let me remind you, this is the Inflation Reduction Act that will increase the price of our heating, our cooking, our energy production 17 percent.
There's a new tax on imported oil and new fees on domestic oil produced on federal lands. There's new inspection fees and owners' fees on pipelines. I do not understand how new fees, new taxes on oil and gas are supposed to lower the price of natural gas and gasoline, but that's what's declared in the Inflation Reduction Act. If only we had more taxes on oil, gas, and natural gas, then prices will somehow magically go down.
As has been mentioned multiple times on the floor, this Inflation Reduction Act hires more than 80,000 new IRS auditors, with no limit on who they can audit. If you thought that there would be a limit to those people making $400,000 or more on being audited, you were wrong. Now, that could have been in this bill, but they chose not to put it in this bill. There are no guardrails for who can be audited by the IRS with billions of dollars being allocated to new IRS agents. Every single American of every income bracket, every small business, every large company, everyone is going to experience new IRS audits in the days ahead.
So, remember this night. Remember this night. In the next 10 years, when you get an IRS audit, it was the Democrats in this body that sent the IRS to your house. So keep your records, because IRS audits are about to dramatically go up due to the gift of the Inflation Reduction Act. Maybe this bill should instead be called the CPA Hiring Act, because I assume millions of taxpayers who struggle under our complicated tax code already will now have to hire a CPA to know their chances of being audited are greatly increasing now. And they know the complicated rules of the IRS.
Most taxpayers that I talk to submit their tax form every year and hope they got it right, because it's so complicated. But because of this night, and this vote, there will be auditors coming after you to make sure that you got it right. Democrats in the days ahead, when the IRS comes to this body for a hearing, will be asking them, did they pull in additional money based on the audits they gave them? Because they're not telling you this, but they assume the IRS will collect $200 billion more once they give them these new auditors. You can be assured that's going to be a metric that is going to be checked in the days ahead.
The IRS will suddenly be like the small-town police force that has a quota of writing tickets on the highway through their small town to help pay for the new city hall meeting. You got to pay for city hall, you need to write more tickets on the highway. It's about to be that with the IRS. They need to audit more, go get more, because we gave you more people. Remember, this is the Inflation Reduction Act. I've yet to figure out how Americans getting more audits reduces inflation, but as advertised this is going to bring down the cost of groceries, this is going to bring down the cost of gas by more people getting audited by the IRS.
One of the other interesting plans in this bill to reduce inflation is to force more Americans to join a union. Now, I have to tell you, I have no angst against unions. Unions are a choice. Those individuals should be able to choose to join a union, be part of collective bargaining. That's an American right and privilege. Let me say this, 10.3 percent of the American workforce is union—10.3 percent. The energy portion of this bill, which is billions and billions and billions of dollars. In the energy portion of this bill, unions get billions of dollars, nonunion workers get nothing.
So if you work in the energy sector right now, and you're not a union employee, you're about to get cut out. Because the way this bill is written, it gives federal payouts to companies that use union laborers, which will make nonunion energy companies un-competitive and will force them out of business or force them to unionize. This should be called the Mandatory Union Bill of 2022, not the Inflation Reduction Act. Because I’m not sure how forcing more people into a union reduces inflation, but that's a major portion of this bill. I'm confident the union bosses across this country are thrilled to finally see a return on their investment since they gave heavily to democrats in 2022 to get them elected. This is their payoff. They'll no longer be 10.3 percent of workers in unions. This is going to force more companies to have to unionize or they will not be able to survive because of the federal credits that only go to companies that hire union labor. This forced unionization sound like the solution to inflation reduction to you? It does to apparently half this body.
It creates a subsidy in health insurance to be announced right before the fall elections this fall. It's not for those that are in poverty. Those that are in poverty all the way up to a full 100 percent in poverty already get health subsidies. This is not at folks at the poverty level, 200 percent, 300 percent, or 400 percent of poverty. This is a family of four making $200,000 that will get this healthcare subsidy. What do the economists think will happen with this new subsidy? They believe employers will drop health insurance and push employees under the affordable care act policies and will shift more and more people on to the government rolls.
Remember, this is the Inflation Reduction Act. As homelessness increases across the nation right now, the bill adds $1 billion into HUD for zero emissions electricity generation in affordable housing, that’s what it’s called. Zero emission electricity generation in affordable housing. It's not about increasing access to housing for those that are homeless, it's solar panels in public housing. I'm confident the people that are living on the street, trying to survive a 9 percent inflation rate, are really hoping they can find someplace with a solar panel. But that's what's in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, is solar panels in public housing, that’s their solution to solving inflation.
While many of us have been pushing back hard to block China from buying more land in the United States, this bill actually gives ag subsidies to landowners regardless of who is the owner of the land. They don't have to be a US citizen. They don't have to be American ownership. We're literally opening up that owners of land to be able to get access to it.
I've also heard over and over again that there are no new taxes in the Inflation Reduction Act. I've heard that in national media, from my Democrat colleagues saying it over and over again and on this floor. Well, that seems to be true if you're a green energy company, that is true there is no new taxes for you. They'll have huge tax breaks. While there is a push for everyone to have a 15 percent minimum tax, that's not exactly true to those folks in these green energy companies that are major democrat donors. They will not have that same minimum tax standard. The Tax Foundation found this, this is their quote. ‘On average, tax filers in every quintile would experience a drop in after-tax incomes.’ Let me run that past you again. ‘On average, tax filers in every quintile would experience a drop in after-tax incomes if this bill passes.’ That means everyone in the country. Under $400,000 and over $400,000 a year. Everyone has a drop in after-tax income.
One of the new taxes that was just added into the bill today, the stock buyback tax. This is to punish companies that are listed on our stock exchanges from buying back stocks to raise the value of stocks. They buy back stocks so that the stock value goes up. They're putting a tax on them to be able to punish them to try to prevent them from doing this. They make it sound like they're hitting the big fat cat corporate CEOs and guys on Wall Street, keeping the value of stock lower. They're going to really stick it to the man, except, 16 million Americans are invested in a 401(k) plan for their retirement. 16 million. The largest owners of stocks in America are retirement plans, insurance companies, and nonprofits. They are the largest owners of stocks. So the people that will be hurt the most in this new plan to drive down the stock market prices are nonprofits, insurance companies, and retirement plans. 58 percent of Americans own some kind of stock.
This is a tax directly and deliberately designed to keep the price of individual stocks from going up. Sure, that's going to hurt CEOs that own their own stock, but it's also going to hurt everyday Americans that just own stock on their own, and it's going to hurt all of those retirement plans. But they seem not to care who they hurt in this as long as they can also hurt CEOs. Driving down the stock market will, I guess, reduce inflation, if that's their plan in their Inflation Reduction Act, is to drive stock prices lower for retirees and nonprofits and individual investors.
Another new tax that was added today, a 15 percent minimum tax on businesses that are funded by private equity. I have to tell you, this one shocked even me when it got slipped in today. Most companies that are funded by private money are small businesses, research companies, small manufacturing companies. This does a new 15 percent tax on those small businesses. Basically, if you're owned by private money, you're funded by private money separate from the owner itself, you're considered a subsidiary, and so you get this big tax that’s laid on you. Let me give you an example of this. I know directly a company in Oklahoma that's a small manufacturing company. They're funded by private outside money. During COVID my Democratic colleagues had the same vendetta against manufacturing that was funded by private equity.
This particular company, like every other company across the country, during COVID could not get access to the Paycheck Protection Program because Democrats said, ‘If you're funded by private outside money then we're not going to get you access to that because you're in evil private equity areas.’ Even though they're vastly small businesses. This particular manufacturing company in Oklahoma produces valves. This valve company had hundreds of employees before COVID. Once COVID happened and business dropped off immediately, because they couldn't get access to the Paycheck Protection Program like every other small business, they laid off hundreds of workers.
Those workers weren't rich folks. Those were folks turning a wrench and making a great product that a lot of people wanted. They got laid off simply because of how they were funded. Now my Democrat colleagues want to jump right on top of them at the end of COVID as the company is finally starting to come back, and they’re hiring people back, to slap a brand-new new tax on top of them that no one’s discussed, no one’s evaluated. No hearings have occurred on it to determine how wide and how broad this will be.
Literally the owners of this company will wake up tomorrow morning because in the middle of the night a new tax got added on to them right at the tail end of COVID simply because my Democratic colleagues don't like any company, regardless of what they do, regardless of the workers that actually work there, they don't like how they're funded through a private individual that funds them.
This bill doesn't lower inflation. I listed off all these things. Could a single American go, ‘Oh that’ll take down inflation, that’ll work?’ None of those things take down inflation.
It also doesn't reduce the deficit. Their plan for reducing the deficit—brace yourself for this—their plan for reducing the deficit is not doing programs they were already not going to do. That's their plan. That's the deficit reduction. Let me give you an example of this. Let's say you were going through Walmart shopping, and you're at your shopping cart and you step aside to be able to get something off your shelf. When you step back somebody stuffed in your basket a big bag of Brussel sprouts. Now, you didn’t put them in there. Someone else put them in there. As you go through the aisle, you look down and you see this big bag of Brussel sprouts. Now, I don't know about you. I don't want a bag of frozen Brussel sprout. Maybe some of you love those. Great. But if somebody slipped a bag of frozen Brussel sprouts into my cart I would put it back up. I would put that away and say, ‘I’m not going to buy that. Somebody else put that into my cart.’ Here's what I wouldn't say. I wouldn't say, ‘Somebody put a bag of frozen Brussel sprouts in my cart. I'm going to put them back on the shelf. That's deficit reduction in my account.’ I wouldn’t say that.
And here's what I mean by that. During the end of the Trump Administration, they laid the groundwork for seniors to get a rebate at the pharmacy counter for Medicare prescriptions to make sure that every senior got a discount at the pharmacy counter. That was the plan, that’s what the Trump Administration put in place. When the Biden Administration came in they didn't like that plan for seniors to get a discount at the pharmacy counter, so they set that plan aside and said, ‘We're not going to do that.’ And instead they've come up with this new plan, I’ll explain in just a second. But they're saying because they didn't do the plan that Trump was planning to do, because they didn't do that plan, that's $100 billion in savings by not buying what they never intended to buy, ever.
Let me just tell you: if you don't buy the Brussel sprouts, you just don't have the Brussel sprouts, but you're not saving money from that. You just didn't get them. That's not real savings. So when they say it's deficit reduction it's because they're not doing what they said they said they're not going to do, and now they’re magically calling it deficit reduction. That’s not real reduction of the deficit. That's a budget gimmick in Washington, DC, a huge budget gimmick. Can I just say the emperor has no clothes. It's not real.
In its place, of this rebate rule, in its place, they've created a real method of price controls for some drugs, and it's not price and negotiations. It's price controls. They're spending $3 billion to set up a system for the government to be able to select prices on one of the most used drugs in America. By the way, it starts in 2026, is when this starts. So I've heard some people on the floor say, ‘We're going to have lower prices right away.’ This plan starts in 2026. it wouldn't affect anyone’s pharmaceuticals until 2027. So if you're planning on reduction in prices, it's not coming soon. It's five years away, if there's a price decrease at all.
The way it's set up is the president, whoever that may be five years from now, will have a new authority not to negotiate prices in the next ten years. It's not a negotiation. It's setting the price because if you disagree with the next president, whoever the next president is, and what they set on the price, they can raise the taxes on your company 95 percent. So if you disagree with the price that they pick, whoever the next president is, what they pick for the price, then your company gets hit with a 95 percent tax. How does that sound for government sheer power over a company? To crush whoever they choose. That's how this is set up. ‘You don't follow what I say, we will crush your company.’
What does that mean for the future? Drug companies will have new incentives to not use existing drugs for new treatments because here's how it typically works. If a cancer drug works for lung cancer, then they start experimenting with others types of cancer to see if it works on those. But in this system the Democrats are setting up, if a drug works for lung cancer, they have a disincentive to try it on other cancers because if the drug gets too used, then it falls into this new negotiation category. So the incentive for the drug companies is not to try new ways of using this drug for fear of getting too big.
Can I tell you what this looks like in real life? I have a friend at home whose wife has pancreatic cancer. And they are desperately trying every treatment and trying to get into every clinical trial they can get into—desperately. They are praying, and they are working. And he's being an awesome husband, and she's being a tough warrior, going through nausea and pretty awful treatments. They're trying to get into clinical trials, which are already hard. This bill will make it even harder because existing cancer drugs will have a disincentive to test out new ways to be able to serve their cancer. Thank you very much to my Democratic colleagues who are reducing the number of cancer cures for the future. How does that cure inflation in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022?
There's also a special little feature in it in the way the drug piece is set up that it incentivizes more IV drugs and fewer oral drugs because IV drugs get more time. Oral drugs get less time, so the incentive is to set up IV drugs instead for the drug companies. So for all of us who would prefer taking a pill, tough luck. Democrats prefer IV drugs instead of oral drugs. So in the future you are taking an IV instead of a pill, it's because of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
Can I just remind everyone that Medicare has insolvency in six years—2028. This Inflation Reduction Act takes the savings from this new prescription plan from Medicare, takes it out of Medicare, it doesn't stabilize Medicare, which is going insolvent in six years. It takes it out of Medicare and moves it over to the affordable care act subsidies. It literally takes money designed for 76-year-olds on a fixed income and gives them to 26-year-olds and their family making $200,000 a year. That's the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
By the way, did I mention again those subsidies land right before the election this fall? This bill is three-quarters of a trillion dollars that not a single person in this chamber has read—755 pages of it that came out a few hours ago. The media, who also hasn't read this bill, continues to be able to talk about what a great plan it is for inflation reduction. They continue to praise the bill, though they've read the same things. It doesn't reduce inflation, it doesn't reduce the deficit.
They joined in the chorus talking about the beauty of the emperor's new clothes. I'm willing to say what a lot of people in this room know in their gut but they're afraid to say: it doesn't reduce inflation. It doesn't reduce the deficit. The emperor has no clothes. Let's reject this bill.
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