U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, in photo, and U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, both Kansas Republicans, voted against an election-year spending bill pushed through the U.S. Senate by a narrow margin. The bill now moves to the U.S. House. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)
TOPEKA — Republican U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall were thumbs-down on the Democrats’ economic package approved when Vice President Kamala Harris cast a tie-breaking vote.
Both Kansas senators were critical of the bill’s projected cost, challenged claims the package would have a meaningful impact on inflation, insisted the measure would damage the economy by raising taxes and questioned a plan to hire thousands of new agents at the Internal Revenue Service.
The U.S. House is expected to vote on and approve the bill Friday before sending it to Democratic President Joe Biden.
Moran, who is seeking reelection against Democrat Mark Holland, a former mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, said Congress ought to be working on federal reform capable of lowering the price of fuel and of other goods or services.
“The idea that spending more money and increasing taxes will be helpful in combating inflation is false and confirmed by the Congressional Budget Office,” Moran said. “Rather than taking steps to curb spending and expand energy production, the so-called Inflation Reduction Act will raise taxes on small businesses and working families, including by hiring 87,000 more IRS agents to target more Americans with tax audits.”
Marshall said passage of the bill was a “sad day” for the nation. He said the November election, which could result in formation of GOP majorities in the House and Senate, “can’t come soon enough.”
“This will only drive our economy further into recession and will be detrimental to all hard-working Kansans who will continue to see steep prices for gasoline, groceries, rent. And, it’s going to kill jobs,” Marshall said.
The legislation was adopted 51-50, with Harris’ vote making the difference, on Sunday following an all-night session in which senators debated a long list of amendments.
The bill would invest about $400 billion in fighting climate change. That would include tax credits for purchase of electric vehicles and building of wind turbines and solar panels.
It also would enable Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices to help lower costs for 64 million participants and cap out-of-pocket expenditures for seniors on Medicare at $2,000 annually. The legislation extended for 13 million people health insurance subsidies scheduled to expire next year. Republicans removed a provision that limited the price of insulin at $35 a month for people covered under private health care plans.
The legislation would impose a 15% minimum tax on large corporations making more than $1 billion annually and a 1% tax on companies that repurchased their own stock. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill could reduce the federal deficit by $102 billion over a 10-year period.
U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner, the 2nd District Republican seeking reelection in November, said he was opposed to the Senate bill. His opponent is Democrat Patrick Schmidt of Topeka.
“Kansans want economic relief at the pump and in the grocery store,” he said. “Not more of President Biden’s failed agenda.”
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