Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and leader of the minority, mounted his case against President Biden’s welfare spending bill in a record-breaking speech that lasted more than eight hours from Thursday to Friday.

Here is a fact-check of some of his remarks.

What Mr. McCarthy Said

“Just a few weeks ago, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger said that no one elected Joe Biden to be FDR. It even spends more than FDR while fighting a world war.”

It is misleading. The spending and tax cuts in the bill will total about $ 2 trillion over 10 years, and could snowball to $ 4 trillion if the shortened programs are extended.

This is indeed a higher amount than the New Deal programs passed under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, which cost around $ 800 billion after adjusting for inflation, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis. But World War II itself cost around $ 5,000 billion.

In addition, the comparison of New Deal programs with the Social Expenditure Bill should take into account changes in the economy and population size of the United States. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis report also noted that the cost of the New Deal was 40 percent of annual gross domestic product.

By comparison, the $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package Mr Biden enacted in March and his initial proposed $ 4 trillion economic plan – which became the scaled-down infrastructure measure and the social spending – would together represent 28% of GDP.

What Mr. McCarthy Said

“You hire 87,000 IRS agents to prosecute them, 1.2 million more audits, and half of those 1.2 go after Americans making $ 75,000 or less.”

It is misleading. The bill provides the IRS with $ 80 billion in additional funding, including nearly $ 45 billion for enforcement. The Congressional Budget Office noted in September that the proposal would result in higher audit rates for everyone, with high-income earners facing the biggest increase.

The bill contains no details of how the audits would be distributed among taxpayers of different income, and the Biden administration and Republicans disagree on how that would play out.

The Treasury Department said in a May report on the proposal that tax audit rates would not increase for those earning less than $ 400,000 because the “compliance proposals are designed to improve existing inequalities by focusing on the upscale escape “.

A spokeswoman for Mr McCarthy pointed to the calculations of Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee comparing historical audit data.

Over the past decade, tax audit rates have declined for high-income earners and have remained relatively stable for low-income earners, which the Treasury Department has attributed to dwindling IRS resources and the inability to retain the specialist auditors needed to examine the files of the wealthy.

The IRS reviewed 1.4 million personal income tax returns in 2010, or about 1% of the total number filed. In 2018, the latest year for which data is available, audits increased to 370,000, or around 0.2%.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would bring enforcement back to its 2010 levels. This would indeed result in around 1.2 million additional audits, and around 580,000 of these would affect people earning under 75. $ 000.

But that’s because a large majority of tax filers – around 70% – earn below this threshold. Looking at the fraction of returns reviewed by income group, rather than just the number, shows that wealthier taxpayers would have a better chance of being audited than low-income people under the Democrats’ proposal.

Below 2010 enforcement levels, approximately 0.5% of returns reporting between $ 1 and $ 75,000 in income would be audited, as would 1% of those with income above $ 75,000. In comparison, these rates were 0.3% and 0.1% in 2018. For those earning more than $ 10 million, more than 20% of returns would be examined below 2010 levels, compared to 5.3% in 2018.

What Mr. McCarthy Said

“All you have to do as an American is spend $ 28 and the IRS is going to knock on your door.”

It is misleading. It was a reference to a Treasury Department proposal requiring banks to report cumulative annual flows of $ 10,000 or more on accounts receivable in order to better combat tax evasion. (An earlier version of the proposal suggested monitoring flows of $ 600.) Salaries and federal benefits are exempt from the reporting requirement, and banks will not report individual transactions. But this proposal did not find its way into the social spending bill.

In a backgrounder, the Treasury Department said it was a “misconception” that all Americans would be subject to further scrutiny under the proposal.

Michelle Nessa, an accounting professor at Michigan State University and an expert in tax audits, said the bank reporting requirement was “unlikely to significantly increase audit risk for most people.”

What Mr. McCarthy Said

“We’re going to take taxes from you so that someone making $ 800,000 can get tax relief to buy a Tesla.”

False. The Democrats’ bill would increase tax credits for electric vehicles from $ 7,500 to $ 12,500 if the car is made in the United States with unions and its battery is also produced domestically. The credits cover sedans that cost up to $ 55,000 and zero-emission vans, SUVs and trucks that cost up to $ 80,000, so the Tesla Model 3, which begins in the mid-1940s, would qualify. .

But the hypothetical near-millionaire in Mr. McCarthy’s example would not qualify, as only people earning $ 250,000 or less (and joint filers earning $ 500,000 or less) can claim the credits under the project. law.

What Mr. McCarthy Said

“More than a million people lost their jobs after President Biden was sworn in because he closed a pipeline. “

False. Early in his presidency, Biden canceled the building permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, and the company behind the project terminated it completely in June. Mr. McCarthy greatly exaggerated the effect of the pipeline on employment.

The company itself estimated that the pipeline would employ around 11,000 Americans. The State Department, in a 2014 report, estimated it would support about 42,000 temporary jobs during two years of construction and 35 permanent employees after the initial phase.

Mr McCarthy may have been referring to a 2020 analysis by the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry’s largest trading group, which estimated that nearly a million jobs would be lost by 2022. if drilling was prohibited on federal lands – not the cancellation of a pipeline.

Mr. Biden banned new oil and gas leases on federal lands, but did not cancel existing leases. In addition, in June, a federal judge blocked the suspension by the administration of the new leases. Lease approval has actually increased under Mr. Biden, as has employment in oil and gas extraction.

What Mr. McCarthy Said

“Biden ended all of the successful immigration policies that President Trump put in place, triggering the biggest wave of illegal immigration in history. “

It’s exaggerated. Mr. Biden has indeed repealed many of President Donald J. Trump’s immigration policies, but he has also kept one key policy intact.

While the Biden administration rolled back the so-called ban on Muslims, halted construction of Mr. Trump’s border wall, and stopped carrying out workplace immigration raids, it continues to use a rule of thumb. health system that allows the authorities to turn back hundreds of thousands of migrants at the border.

Additionally, the Biden administration attempted to end a Trump-era program that required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims were reviewed, but was ordered to restart the program.

What Mr. McCarthy Said

“You provide money, $ 450,000, to the people who came here illegally, and you take it from the hard-working American taxpayers.”

It is misleading. The bill itself does not provide hundreds of thousands of dollars for unauthorized immigrants. Rather, it was a reference to a proposal to provide monetary compensation for the damage inflicted by a Trump-era immigration policy.

The American Civil Liberties Union and others have filed lawsuits on behalf of migrant families separated at the border by the Trump administration. About 5,500 children have been separated from their parents. The Wall Street Journal reported the lawsuits claiming varying amounts of damages and averaging $ 3.4 million per family.

The Biden administration and the families’ lawyers have started negotiations to provide $ 450,000 to each affected family member, but the New York Times reported that only a minority of families would be eligible, as many did not file a claim. complaint against the government.

Asked about the figure this month, Mr Biden said “that won’t happen.” A White House spokeswoman later clarified that the Justice Department told plaintiffs that the $ 450,000 figure was “higher than anywhere a settlement can lead.”

What Mr. McCarthy Said

“Sir. Mr. President, you may remember the Iron Dome. Your party actually funded this.

False. Despite some opposition from Progressive Democrats to funding Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, the House voted 420-9 in September to provide $ 1 billion in new funding. Democrats voted overwhelmingly for funding.


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