WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, and fellow Republican leaders of the committees that have received reconciliation instructions today sent a letter to Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Committee Chairs calling on them to hold legislative hearings, and markups with votes, on Democrats’ reckless taxing and spending legislation. In the letter, the senators highlight the need for the legislative text to be made public and official scores from the nonpartisan budget experts—the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT)—along with full committee consideration and debate.
“Hiding the details of the real cost of the trillions of dollars in new government spending and tax increases by using budgetary gimmicks is an attempt to disguise the true cost and impact the reckless tax and spending spree will have on the nearly $29 trillion national debt, rising prices, jobs and inflation,” the ranking members wrote. “There is currently no score from the Congressional Budget Office on a fully-specified legislative proposal, but there needs to be full transparency on the proposal and sunshine on any possible budget gimmicks to understand the true cost.”
Ranking Member Capito was joined by Ranking Members Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Senate Finance Committee; John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Senate Energy Committee; John Boozman (R-Ark.), Senate Agriculture Committee; Richard Burr (R-N. C.), Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), Senate Budget Committee; Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Senate Judiciary Committee; Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Senate Veterans Affairs Committee; Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Senate Indian Affairs Committee; Rand Paul (R-Ken.), Senate Small Business Committee; Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee; Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Senate Banking Committee; Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Senate Commerce Committee.
Earlier in September, Ranking Member Capito co-sponsored legislation that would ensure that all fast-tracked reconciliation bills are subject to a committee hearing.
Read the letter here or below:
Dear Leader Schumer,
Hiding the details of the real cost of the trillions of dollars in new government spending and tax increases by using budgetary gimmicks is an attempt to disguise the true cost and impact the reckless tax and spending spree will have on the nearly $29 trillion national debt, rising prices, jobs and inflation. As Ranking Members of Senate Committees, we ask that Senate Committee chairs hold legislative hearings and votes so elected officials and their constituents know what is being considered and the likely resulting effects, rather than a Senate substitute which will be put together behind closed-doors and rushed through the Senate floor.
There is currently no score from the Congressional Budget Office on a fully-specified legislative proposal, but there needs to be full transparency on the proposal and sunshine on any possible budget gimmicks to understand the true cost. New budget models from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business demonstrate that if all the proposed spending and revenue provisions are made permanent, the cost is nearly $4 trillion and the budgetary offsets amount to $1.5 trillion.
To properly assess what impact a bill will have on the federal budget, we need the legislative text to be made public and official scores from the nonpartisan budget experts —the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation—along with full committee consideration and debate. We need estimates of what the effects of the legislation will be on the federal debt, and on important economic variables currently weighing on our constituents, such as jobs and inflation. The Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation should testify, and members of the Senate should be allowed to ask questions of the experts. Committees should have legislative text, open debate, and, under regular order, allowance for amendments and voting in committees.
From what we have publicly seen, the proposed crippling and hastily-pasted together tax hikes will stunt our economic recovery, further impede labor markets, and punish low- and middle-income workers while doing nothing to dampen ongoing inflation, supply chain damages, or price hikes on everyday goods and services, just as our nation attempts to recover from the pandemic. Spending into heightened inflation in order to secure partisan footholds on policies is reckless and risky. Tax hikes in early phases of a recovery is malpractice. The plan under consideration behind closed doors has not been properly debated or vetted. It is a blueprint to recklessly tax and spend our country into fiscal ruin and will do long-term damage to our economy.
Legislation as unprecedented as this should be fully vetted and afforded appropriate opportunity for review and debate. Failure to secure details on the true cost of these spending proposals and offsets, and to hold full, open committee markups, only serves to erode the American people’s trust in the Senate as an open and effective institution. We cannot substitute a secretive process behind closed doors for a public dialogue, nor rhetorical scores in lieu of true economic impact.
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