SWFL reps vote against clean energy, drug price reductions, tax equality but can’t stop House passage of Inflation Reduction Act

Final vote is huge win for Joe Biden, Southwest Florida, seniors.

Members of the House of Representatives and others applaud last night as House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi displays her final, signed copy of the Inflation Reduction Act. (Photo: Reuters, Leah Millis)

Aug. 13, 2022 by David Silverberg

The United States House of Representatives last night, Aug. 12, passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (House Resolution 5376) by a straight party-line vote of 220 to 207.

All Southwest Florida representatives, Reps. Byron Donalds (R-19-Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.) and Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.), along with 204 other Republicans voted against the bill.

The House vote finalizes legislative consideration of the measure, which had already passed the US Senate. President Joe Biden may sign it into law at any time.

The bill invests $370 billion in clean energy and reducing harmful, climate-changing emissions. It moves to cap and lower drug costs for seniors and all Medicare recipients. It also protects lower and middle income Americans from crippling insurance increases, as well as many other measures.

Among elements relevant to Florida, the bill makes major new investments in solar energy and provides tax credits for people and businesses that go solar. It provides funding for prevention and mitigation of wildfires and other climatic impacts.

For coastal communities like those in Southwest Florida, the bill appropriates money for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to take resilience actions against climate change and funds improved weather forecasting. NOAA will also be able to buy new hurricane-hunting aircraft.

“When you hear about what this means to America’s working families, how can you vote against lowering health care costs and prescription drug costs for seniors and underserved communities as we continue to fight inflation?” asked House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-12-Calif.) in a floor speech.

“How can you vote with Pharma at the cost of America’s seniors and America’s working families?

“How can you vote against protecting future generations from rising sea levels, raging wildfires and crippling droughts? 

“How can you vote against reducing the deficit or asking billionaires and companies and wealthy avoiders of taxes to pay their fair share?  And I’m not talking about people who work the system.  I’m talking about people who illegally do not pay their taxes,” she said.

However, Donalds, among other Republicans during the 3-hour debate spoke against the bill in his own 1-minute floor speech, in which he argued that “this terrible bill” will increase energy costs.

“This bill will only make the economic pain & suffering worse,” he also argued on Twitter. “Why would I vote for a bill that increases taxes & royalties on American energy when prices are skyrocketing?”

In another tweet he denounced increased enforcement of tax laws. “The American people are tired of having the government breathing down their necks. Yet, that’s exactly what the Democrats want more of. The addition of 87,000 NEW IRS agents is more government intrusion on your life and mine. We The People just want to be left alone.”

Steube was similarly scornful, tweeting: “This bill wastes over $350 billion on Green New Deal priorities like tax breaks for people who buy ‘green appliances’ and solar panels. The American people want relief from inflation – not more spending.” In another tweet he stated: “We cannot spend ourselves out of this recession. The Democrats’ Inflation Expansion Act cuts jobs and raises taxes on millions of Americans across all incomes during 40-year high inflation.”

In his own tweet Diaz-Balart called the bill “the Manchin-Biden deal” after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVa.), whose support was critical in getting it through the Senate. He stated it “does not reduce inflation. Americans are paying $2 more per gallon on gas since Biden took office. Food, housing prices & rents are UP, hurting American families. It raises taxes on Americans. More reckless spending is not the solution.”

On the other hand, Cindy Banyai, Democratic candidate in the 19th Congressional District, was jubilant at the bill’s passage, tweeting, “Thank you Democrats for passing the Inflation Reduction Act! Time to invest in America!”

Liberty lives in light

© 2022 by David Silverberg

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