Bill Kaplan: Congressional Democrats pass climate change and health care bill

The column below reflects the opinions of the author, and these opinions are not endorsed or supported by

Democrats in Congress, including all of Wisconsin’s Democratic members of Congress, stepped in and hit a home run, the Cut Inflation Act. This landmark legislation tackles climate change, cuts drug costs, lowers Affordable Care Act private insurance premiums, cuts the deficit and forces big business, which makes more than $1 billion in profits per year, to pay their fair share of taxes.

Congressional Republicans, including all Wisconsin GOP members of Congress, were doomed that Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had reached an agreement on the Tax Reduction Act. inflation. Angry GOP leaders in the House have called on their members to oppose the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act passed by the Senate. All of Wisconsin’s GOP representatives obliged and opposed the jobs creation bill out of spite. It passed despite the anger. Then 25 GOP senators, including Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, who had voted for a veterans disability and health bill (the PACT Act), reneged and blocked final passage. A public backlash forced GOP senators to retreat.

Despite the political games, the Democratic-led Congress passed the Cut Inflation Act without GOP support. Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin summed up the bill: “Working families in Wisconsin need to cut costs…. Our reforms will close tax loopholes for billion-dollar big corporations and make them pay a fairer share of taxes so we can cut the deficit and reduce out-of-pocket spending for working families on prescription drugs and bonuses. health care. Our legislation will reduce energy costs for consumers and make investments to boost Made in America clean energy generation that will create jobs and tackle the climate crisis.

A bipartisan group of five former Treasury secretaries backed Baldwin: “And the additional taxes levied on corporations do not reflect increases in the corporate tax rate, but rather the recovery of lost revenue due to tax evasion and provisions benefiting the wealthiest.… This legislation will help increase American competitiveness, solve our climate crisis, reduce costs for families and fight inflation….

However, Senator Ron Johnson denied the reality of climate change and instead sided with big business and pharmaceutical companies. Its press release sought to scare Wisconsinans by raising the specter of an overzealous taxman: “This bill will not only increase the burden Americans will bear from business tax increases, but it will also overburden the taxman to attacking American families…”. Worry, lies.

Trump-appointed IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig hailed funding from the Cut Inflation Act for the IRS to increase its workforce, which has been down sharply since 2010, and buy new technology to fight against corporate and wealthy tax evaders. Rettig said, “These resources are absolutely not intended to increase audit control over small businesses or middle-income Americans.” Rettig wants to crack down on tax evasion by abusing indirect deductions for the benefit of the super-rich. In 2017, Johnson lobbied to increase that tax break which benefited some of his wealthy donors by at least $215 million.

Johnson is afraid that voters will find out who he really represents.

– Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, DC, for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 to 2009.

Teresa H. Sadler