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Democrats’ social spending and taxation bill, championed by Sen. Joe Manchin and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, includes several environmental provisions and tax hikes that Republicans are already attacking.
One of those is $25 million extra for the secretary of agriculture to spend on “proposals that utilize diet and feed management to reduce enteric methane emissions from ruminants.”
A ruminant is a grazing mammal with complex, multi-chambered stomachs. Potentially the most prominent ruminant is the cow, which according to the Associated Press is responsible for tens of millions of tons of methane in the atmosphere per year, largely coming from its farts.
“The Schumer-Manchin reckless taxing and spending spree revives some of the worst policies from the Green New Deal, raises taxes, kills American jobs, and tries to target emissions produced by cows and farm animals,” the Senate Republican Communications Center tweeted. “You couldn’t make this up if you tried.”
Manchin, D-W.Va., meanwhile, says Republicans are being blinded by partisanship with midterms coming up and a polarized Congress.
“Normal times, this would be a bipartisan bill,” Manchin told reporters Monday, emphasizing that the taxes in the bill are on big business.
“These are things that we’ve all talked about in bipartisan groups,” he added. “How can we start paying down our debt and… take our finances seriously? Get our financial house in order?”
“They’re all looking and trying to find and discredit – they can’t,” Manchin also said. “Because we are doing what I just said: accelerating permitting, getting products to market, producing more, paying down debt.”
But Republicans, citing the Joint Committee on Taxation, are saying that Manchin’s bill – which Democrats aim to advance with just 50 votes through the reconciliation process – would hit the middle class in addition to the rich.
The committee’s analysis said Manchin’s bill, officially titled the “Inflation Reduction Act,” would raise 2023 taxes on six of eight income categories lower than $200,000. Manchin disputed that on Monday, saying he’d “agree to disagree” on the matter.
Republicans are likely to criticize many other energy and environmental provisions of the bill. Among them is nearly $1.9 billion for a “Neighborhood access and equity grant program.” That money would be available to, among other things, help fix areas with “gaps in tree canopy coverage” in underserved communities.
The bill would further provide up to a $7,500 tax credit to families making up to $300,000 per year who buy electric vehicles made without critical minerals from hostile countries and not assembled in hostile countries.
The tax credit applies for new vans, SUVs and pickups up to $80,000. For other cars the limit is $55,000. Families making up to $150,000 can also get a $4,000 tax credit for used electric vehicles.
One tax in the bill specifically hits the energy industry. Called a “Waste Emissions Charge,” this provision would bill energy facility operators for methane emissions that escape into the atmosphere.
The American Natural Gas Association estimated that the tax would increase Americans’ natural gas bills by 17%. It would also apply to petroleum production, fossil fuel processing, energy storage and more.
“Natural gas is the single largest source of electricity generation in our entire country,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday. “A plurality of all the power in America comes from natural gas. It’s also how countless families heat their homes. And it’s a lynchpin of our domestic energy independence and our ability to export to allies like Europe. But the Green New Deal Democrats are coming straight after American natural gas with huge new tax hikes.”
“It’s a very simple message: Democrats are getting ready to vote for tax hikes during a recession,” a GOP aide also said. “The sharks are already circling underneath the plank they will walk off.”
This story expires at 1:46pm on Wednesday November 2nd, 2022 and will be deleted.