Testing, Daines votes split on sweeping energy and debt legislation

Missoula Current

The two U.S. senators from Montana split their vote Sunday on a sweeping bill that one says will reduce debt and cut costs for families, while the other called it a reckless spending.

Along party votes, the Senate passed the Cut Inflation Act, which aims to create both traditional and renewable energy, curb health care and reduce the country’s debt.

Senator Jon Tester voted for the measure and Senator Steve Daines opposed it. Vice President Kamala Harris broke the 50-50 tie and the bill is now moving to the House, which is expected to pass the measure this week.

“The Cut Inflation Act will pay down hundreds of billions of dollars of debt, cut costs for families, cut prescription drug prices and free up American energy, all without raising taxes on Montanans who are working,” Tester said in a statement on Sunday.

Tester described the bill as the biggest debt-reduction effort in more than 10 years — a measure that supporters say will fight inflation and grow the economy.

Tester pointed to a number of provisions in the bill, saying it will allow Medicare to use its purchasing power to negotiate drug prices. It will also cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000 per year.

On the energy side, Tester said the bill will expand offshore oil and gas leasing, allow the Home Office to develop renewable energy on public lands, and expand tax credits for investments in renewable energies.

“I fought to get this bill paid in full and reduce costs for Americans while making us less dependent on foreign adversaries like Russia to power our country,” Tester said. “I’ve heard first-hand from people in every corner of our state asking me to find solutions that will cut costs and help our country retain its place as the world’s leading economic powerhouse, and that’s exactly what the law does. on reducing inflation.”

Daines offered a different take on the legislation, calling the $739 billion measure a reckless tax and spending bill.

Daines had proposed a list of amendments over the weekend which ultimately fell through.

“As Montanans continue to struggle with sky-high prices on everything from gas to groceries to housing, every Senate Democrat has voted to raise energy costs, donate taxpayers’ money to the rich for electric vehicles, raise taxes and oversize the IRS to go after small businesses and families – it’s a slap in the face for families in Montana,” Daines said.

After the measure passed, Daines suggested the bill would raise taxes, citing an analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation. According to a statement provided by Daines, those earning less than $200,000 a year will see a tax increase of $16.7 billion.

Daines also said the measure includes “massive” taxes on oil and gas producers and would increase the cost of fuel.

“The Democrats’ reckless tax and spending bill is bad for Montana families, bad for Montana’s energy jobs, and bad for the wallets of Montanans,” Daines said.

Republicans voted with Democrats on some aspects of the bill, including an insulin amendment. Other measures pushed by left-leaning Democrats have also failed, including an incremental push to include additional changes around the child tax credit.

The South West Energy Efficiency Project was among the first to welcome the passage of the measure, saying it will create well-paying jobs, reduce energy costs and reduce the country’s dependence on electricity. foreign energy.

“On behalf of the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, I sincerely thank the United States Senate for voting today in favor of the inflation,” said Elise Jones, the organization’s executive director.

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