Capito: 'Very disappointed' with Inflation Reduction Act

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Aug. 5—Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R.-WVa., continues blasting the proposed Inflation Reduction Act, saying Thursday she is "very disappointed" in it and the possible impacts have "not been well thought out."

Capito said during a press briefing from her Washington office the $739 billion bill will fuel inflation, not reduce it, accelerate green energy and decelerate fossil fuel use, and burden every resident with higher costs as a fallout from the 15 percent minimum corporate tax.

It is a "reckless tax and spending bill," she said. "We are focusing on spending more and taxing more. I am very disappointed and still can't figure out how this bill came together."

Inflation will actually increase, she said, because of more federal spending and as a result of the 15 percent minimum tax.

Capito said the $1 billion threshold does not mean just profits, but it incorporates assets as well, so it will impact many companies, and that will mean higher prices for products as companies pass extra costs to consumers.

She used a wireless provider she talked to as an example, and was told that, with the 15 percent minimum tax, prices for those services would increase during a time when she and others have been trying to close the digital divide.

That is why, she said, everyone will be impacted in a negative way, even those making under $200,000.

Capito said the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation said most of the fallout will hit that income bracket because the costs goes right to the customer, and also pointed to a Penn Wharton study that said inflation will rise a little bit under this bill but will not go down.

"Shouldn't we be doing policies that are going to cause inflation to come down, is where I differ with this."

She also said the bill is not designed to help the coal industry. The bill earmarks $369 billion for energy security and climate change.

"There's a huge green energy, I'm not anti-green energy, but it is overtaken in this bill," she said.

The coal industry spoke for themselves, she said, and they feel they have been deceived by "certain people" that the bill will not harm them.

"This administration does not want to move forward to incentivize any kind of burning of fossil fuels, particularly coal," she said, and the bill is aimed at accelerating green energy.

"It will hurt our industries in West Virginia, our hard working men and women in oil and gas business or in coal business," she said. "That will also, I think, hamper our energy security in this country."

Green energy has its place right now, she added, but an emphasis should remain on fossil fuels.

"I'm all about renewables, but it's a major foot on the scale... there's all sorts of things in here that I think have really have lost the focus."

Capito said she knows this a transition period as the country moves toward "cleaner and greener" energy, but it has to be a gradual change so a sensible transition period is needed.

Capito also criticized the $80 billion going to the IRS to hire 80,000 new tax agents, saying they will not just target the wealthy, they will also go after smaller businesses.

This bill is "way over the top," she said, although it does have items she supports, like lowering the prices of prescription drugs and black lung benefits being preserved.

"To me, this will crumble under its own weight."

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com