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Reconciliation Package Raises Taxes, Spends Recklessly Without Enacting Real Change



Reconciliation Package Raises Taxes, Spends Recklessly Without Enacting Real Change





WASHINGTON, D.C.,
August 12, 2022

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Inflation Reduction Act under the budget reconciliation process. House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:

“It’s no surprise congressional Democrats have chosen to burden the American people with more exorbitant taxes and even more unprecedented spending. Anyone who tells you this partisan bill is about policymaking doesn’t understand how the reconciliation process works. This isn’t ‘sweeping climate legislation’ and no, this certainly isn’t ‘reducing inflation’ – all Democrats have accomplished with this bill is funnel more taxpayer funds straight to an administration that’s repeatedly proven it doesn’t know how to govern with the money it already has. It’s absolutely shameful that congressional Democrats are misleading Americans and messaging this as actual change when in reality it’s just a way to spend money we don’t have. I remain committed to legislation that would unlock American resources, revitalize forest health, improve public land access, lift indigenous communities out of poverty, and much more. It’s unfortunate we have yet to see Speaker Pelosi bring any kind of meaningful legislation to the floor that would accomplish those bipartisan goals.”

Background

The so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” is sweeping legislation that would raise taxes and fees and spend massive amounts of taxpayer funds in pursuit of vague, undefined priorities. Among other things, the bill would:

  • Raise the royalty rate for onshore oil and gas leasing from a minimum of 12.5 percent to a fixed 16.66 percent for the first 10 years after enactment, then a minimum of 16.66 percent thereafter.
  • Create a Department of the Interior slush fund, providing $500 million total for undefined “conservation, protection, and resiliency” and “conservation, ecosystem and habitat restoration” projects on National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management lands. This could be used to backfill existing slush DOI funds and finance misguided endeavors like the 30×30 Initiative.
  • Provide $100 million for environmental reviews without including any real streamlining. Failing to address burdensome regulations will mean critical forest management projects continue getting delayed or canceled.
  • Prioritize egregious, unfettered spending, such as $25 million to cover water canals with solar panels and $125 million for Endangered Species Act (ESA) recovery plans with none of the requisite National Environmental Policy Act, ESA, or National Historic Preservation Act reforms to streamline projects.
  • Add $220 million to an already bloated Bureau of Indian Affairs program that currently receives nearly $1 billion through annual appropriations. There is little accurate information available as to how these expenditures would benefit Indian country beyond nebulous “planning” for a changing environment.

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