How Congress really works when it comes to spending your tax dollars, is an arcane process meant more to obfuscate details rather than inform citizens. By Constitutional law, all federal appropriations bills must begin in the House of Representatives. The founders’ reasoning was that laws governing public spending must first be approved by the people, and the House is the body that represents the people. Remember, the founders intended the Senate to represent the states in our federalist republic.
So, after the House writes, debates and passes an appropriations bill, that bill is forwarded to the Senate for the states’ consideration of it. Since the 1980’s, however, the Senate has come up with a clever way to subvert the Constitutional process via reconciliation. Now, reconciliation is nothing really new in the sense that the founders intended it. Essentially, if the Senate substantially changes an appropriations bill already passed by the House, the Senate must return that changed and Senate-approved bill to the House in order to “reconcile” the changes. The House then votes yea or nay on these changes. If the House votes yea, then the bill goes to the President for signature or veto. If the House votes nay, the bill dies. The following article, written by the House, explains the process. Just keep in mind that it was written by Dems last year. https://budget.house.gov/publications/fact-sheet/budget-reconciliation-basics
If you read the article written by the House, you’ll have discovered that the reconciliation process in the Senate now operates under the “Byrd Rule,” named for former Dem Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Its most relevant and important provisions are that, under reconciliation, debate is strictly limited, the bill cannot be filibustered, the bill cannot add to the deficit, and a majority vote is all that is needed to pass the bill and return it to the House for their reconciliation vote.
Well, that’s the way the process is supposed to work. That’s not the way it has worked. Take the Affordable Care Act for example. In 2009, the House passed a bill for veterans spending and submitted it to the Senate for consideration. Sen. Harry Reid, then Senate Majority Leader, gutted the entire bill and rewrote it as the ACA, pretending that the bill had actually originated in the House. Using the Byrd Rule, Reid had no problem whatsoever shoving the reconciliation bill through the Senate: no delay, no filibuster, only a majority vote in the Senate required. The House quickly approved the effort and Obama signed it into law. The problem, as it is with all government estimates, is that the bill hasn’t paid for itself, and it has certainly increased deficit spending.
Biden tried to get his Build Back Better Bill through the Congress. First it had a government-estimated $3.5 trillion price tag. Then that was pared down to $2.2 triiliion, the latter of which passed the Dem-controlled House, which as always, only needed a majority vote. Then the bill got to the Senate where it was dead on arrivial. That’s because in a 50-50 Senate, even with reconciliation rules, the Dems needed every Senator to approve the bill. As we know, Dem Sens. Manchin and Sinema were not going along with the plan because of what it would do to exacerbate inflation.
What’s a Dem to do? Biden’s key legislation was dying. Something had to be done. So, Chuck Schumer, like Reid before him, rewrote the BBB Act, paring spending down to about $700 billion and calling it the Inflation Reduction Act. That’s a humorous title for an act that has little to do with reducing inflation.
As the Vox article explains, roughly $370 billion of this bill goes to climate change efforts. As the article also explains, “The Inflation Reduction Act would be the biggest thing the US has ever done to tackle climate change, and climate makes up the largest share of the bill’s spending: nearly $370 billion.
“That’s smaller than the House version from last fall, and a fraction of what Biden originally envisioned for climate. Senate Democrats claim these investments will be enough to cut climate pollution by roughly 40 percent. (That’s slightly less dramatic than it sounds; the decrease is compared to 2005 levels, when emissions peaked. Even without new policy, the US still would have been on track to cut 20 percent of emissions by 2030.)”
You read that last sentence correctly. Even though Dems will lie and say the bill will reduce CO2 emissions by 40%, half of those reductions would have been achieved if they had done nothing.
But the part of the reconciliation bill, a part never in the original bill, that bothers me the most is the plan to increase IRS funding to the tune of $80 billion over 10 years. And what will the IRS do with this public largess? They’ll go after taxpayers, all of us. You see, the IRS will be adding more than 80,000 new employees — think about that number — who are expected, at least by government estimates, to reduce the deficit by $203 billion.
Geez, using these numbers and their return on investment, shouldn’t we just create as many IRS personnel as necessary to reduce our deficit spending to zero? I think you know the answer. If approved by the House, and I see no way they won’t approve it when they return from recess and before they lose their majority in the mid-term elections, Biden will certainly sign the bill and we’ll have a new Gestapo of 80,000-plus IRS personnel running about looking for ways to justify their existence. Forget the Lois Lerners who will slip in. Forget all of the capital expenditures needed to house and supply a doubling of the IRS workforce. Forget that Congress cannot easily reduce such a workforce later. Just remember that they’re coming for you, one of the 50% of Americans who actually pay taxes. https://nypost.com/2022/08/05/the-inflation-reduction-act-would-double-irs-agents-and-audits-but-superrich-arent-real-targets/
Who knew that the way to reduce inflation was to waste $370 billion on climate change and double the size of the IRS?