Congressman Smith: Why I Voted Against The Inflation Reduction Act

Carly Baldwin, Patch

MIDDLETOWN, NJ — On Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. But on Friday, the day the bill passed the House, Monmouth County Congressman Chris Smith released this scathing statement explaining why he did not vote for it.

Smith is the Republican Congressman who represents New Jersey’s Fourth District, which includes most of Middletown and southern Monmouth County, stretching down into Ocean County. Smith and New Jersey’s sole remaining other Republican Congressman, Jeff Van Drew in South Jersey, were the only two of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation to vote against the Inflation Reduction Act; all of the state’s other Congressional reps are Democrats and they supported the $430 billion bill.

“I strongly oppose the insultingly-named ‘Inflation Reduction Act,'” said Smith in this statement Friday. “At a time when Americans are suffering the effects of a decades-high, crushing inflation — and as economic data show that the U.S. has entered a recession — the timing and substance of the Democrats’ bill is an unmitigated economic disaster. Experts who have reviewed the legislation, including those at the Penn Wharton Budget Model and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office have widely agreed that this gimmick-laden tax and spending spree will do nothing to reduce inflation. Most of us know it could make it worse.”

Smith also warned the act will raise taxes.

Both Smith and Van Drew said they oppose the massive increase in federal funding to the IRS that the law provides.

“This egregiously misguided tax-and-spend legislation also supercharges the IRS with $80 billion and 87,000 new agents to audit hardworking Americans and grants the agency more power to target critics of the Administration, as occurred under Obama and Clinton,” said Smith.

“We are in the middle of a recession,” agreed Van Drew in a statement Friday. “There is no reason that taxpayer dollars need to go towards hiring an IRS army that will only end up targeting hard-working Americans who are just trying to afford gas and groceries.”

“Especially disappointing for my constituents is the Democrats’ refusal to honor their promise of a SALT-cap repeal, which could have provided much-needed relief for overtaxed New Jersey families,” said Smith.

Several House Democrats representing New Jersey have pushed to remove or increase the $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions; the cap was put in place under President Donald Trump. Reps. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) previously both pledged “no SALT, no deal” but they then voted for the Inflation Reduction Act, even though it did not increase the SALT cap deduction.

The Inflation Reduction Act calls for $433 billion in new spending that Democrats say is more than offset by $739 billion in revenue, specifically:

  • $313 billion from a 15 percent corporate minimum tax
  • $288 billion from prescription drug pricing reform
  • $124 billion from IRS tax enforcement reform
  • $14 billion from the closure of the carried interest loophole

Smith also said the Act will place new restrictions on oil and gas, and spends taxpayer money on “Green New Deal” programs that he blasted as “untested,” including subsidies for electric cars.

Under the Inflation Reduction Act, those earning $150,000 or less a year (or $300,000 for joint filers) will be eligible for tax credits of up to $7,500 for qualified new “clean” vehicles made in North America. Consumer who earn $75,000 or $150,000 for joint filers can also qualify for up to $4,000 in tax credits for buying used clean vehicles.

“Electric car batteries require cobalt often sourced from Chinese Communist Party-controlled mines in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said Smith. “This mining frequently involves the labor trafficking of thousands of children — more than 40,000 trafficked children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone — all in the name of the “Green Economy.”

Smith is up for election this year; Matthew Jenkins is the Democrat challenging him, among various other independent party candidates.

The midterm election will be Nov. 8.

Congressman Smith: Why I Voted Against The Inflation Reduction Act | Middletown, NJ Patch