MEMO: The Attacks on Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda Don’t Hold Up

Contact: Emily Samsel, esamsel@lcv.org, 828-713-9647

To: Interested Parties
From: Julie Alderman Boudreau, Research Director, LCV
Date: August 11, 2021
Re: The Attacks on Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda Don’t Hold Up

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill just took one of the first steps to pass the biggest and boldest action we’ve ever seen on climate, jobs, and justice, thanks to the continued leadership of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Congressional Republicans continue to try to obstruct progress alongside their big oil and corporate polluter allies and as they head back home, we know Republicans and their allies are going to continue to fearmonger and lob their misleading and false attacks about the budget reconciliation. Here’s why you shouldn’t take it too seriously:

The Build Back Better agenda won’t create massive inflation.

You may have seen Republicans like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) — who has a lifetime LCV scorecard score of 4% and who has taken more than $840,000 from the oil and gas industryfear mongering about how the Build Back Better agenda would “drive inflation even higher.” Unfortunately in this case, Cotton can’t have his cake and eat it too.

In a report from Moody’s Analytics, Mark Zandi who previously served as an economic advisor on Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) 2008 presidential campaign swats that concern aside, writing that, “worries that the plan will ignite undesirably high inflation and an overheating economy are overdone.” In fact, Zandi wrote, the package “is designed to lift the economy’s longer-term growth potential and ease inflation pressures.”

What we’ve seen so far with a minor increase in inflation is expected and temporary in the initial recovery from the pandemic. And, the Build Back Better agenda is going to help get our economy back on track with the creation of good paying jobs and by lowering costs for working families.

Unless you’re in the top 2% of individual earners, your taxes aren’t going to go up.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) — who said climate change is “bullshit” has  taken more than $580,000 from the oil and gas industry and has a dismal 3% lifetime score on the LCV scorecard — told reporters that the Build Back Better Agenda will “increase taxes” on Americans.

Sen. Johnson is kind of right, not about sunspots causing climate change, but that taxes will go up on the wealthiest 1.8%. That means billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk will be forced to pay their fair share. The Build Back Better agenda is also paid for by increasing taxes on wealthy corporations, some of which pay a shocking $0 in federal taxes, and beefing up enforcement of current laws to bring in billions of dollars in uncollected taxes. But people making under $400,000 won’t pay a penny more. In fact, many middle class families with children will have more money in their pockets with the tax credits outlined in the plan.  

The bottom line is, this legislation will be paid for by making sure the wealthy and multinational corporations pay their fair share. The Build Back Better Agenda won’t raise taxes by even a penny on middle class and working families. Period. 

The cost of inaction is far higher.

Republicans like Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) — who has taken more than $2.2 million(!) in campaign cash from the oil and gas industry and has a 5% lifetime score on the LCV scorecard — said Democrats were “recklessly spend[ing]” money through the Build Back Better agenda.

While $3.5 trillion seems like a lot of money, the cost of inaction is immensely more. As NPR News reported, in five years, the U.S. experienced more than $500 billion in losses from climate-fueled weather disasters. A recent study found that if we fail to meet the challenge of climate change, it could cost the world nearly $800 trillion in the next 80 years. Even Republican Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) has said that doing nothing about climate change would be an “extraordinary lapse.”

The more we wait, the more expensive it’s going to be. We have no choice but to act now – the world’s climate scientists have made that clear, again. And this legislation will actually help working families save money by lowering the costs of utility bills and saving money at the gas pump.

The Build Back Better agenda has overwhelming, bipartisan support.

And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) referred to the Build Back Better agenda as “a liberal wish list” during an appearance on Fox News.

But, it’s not just liberals or Democrats who support provisions in the Build Back Better agenda. In fact, a number of these policies enjoy support from Republicans, including:

  • Making bold investments to tackle climate change, which is supported by 55% of Republicans.
  • Increasing reliance on solar panel farms and wind turbine farms, which are supported by 73% and 62% of Republicans, respectively.
  • Making roads and bridges more resilient to climate change, which is supported by 82% of Republicans.
  • Removing and replacing all lead pipes, which is supported by 79% of Republicans.
  • Cleaning up abandoned oil and gas wells, which is supported by 67% of Republicans.
  • Creating a Civilian Climate Corps that will put Americans to work restoring our forests and coasts, which is supported by 50% of Republicans.
  • Paying for the plan by making corporate taxes fairer, which is supported by 52% of Republicans.
  • Increasing funding to the IRS by $80 billion to crack down on wealthy tax cheats and potentially bring in $700 billion of new revenue, which is supported by 46% of Republicans.

Not to mention that nearly three-quarters of voters support the Build Back Better agenda after hearing the main provisions, costs, and tax components. The GOP attacks just don’t hold up. It is clear that we have to meet the scale of the crises we face with the big investments needed to build back better with justice and equity and it’s what voters across the country — Republicans, Independents, and Democrats alike — are demanding. 

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