US Rep. Jared Golden on Friday backed the inflation-cutting bill, helping House Democrats pass it by a narrow margin and handing President Joe Biden a legislative victory ahead of November’s midterm elections.
The House vote, expected to take place on Friday, is expected to send the $739 billion package to Biden’s desk to cut health care costs and boost new clean energy projects.
In a Medium post, the 2nd Circuit congressman said the legislation is “fiscally responsible” and aims to address key concerns including cutting health care costs, expanding oil, gas and renewable energy projects and taking action against them tax avoidance.
“This isn’t Joe Biden’s crazy Build Back Better proposal,” Golden said in an interview. “This is legislation designed to ensure American energy dominance and independence.”
Golden’s yes vote on the inflation-cutting bill comes as the two-term congressman takes on former Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin and independent Tiffany Bond this November. Poliquin, whose campaign did not immediately respond to an email for comment, has spoken out against the measure.
Golden’s 1st District colleague Rep. Chellie Pingree said she will vote for the bill on Thursday. Senator Angus King voted in favor of the bill in the Senate, meaning Republican Senator Susan Collins, who called the bill a “reckless spending bill” that would hurt the American economy, will be the only member of the Maine delegation to vote against it .
His support was an early question, particularly because of his tendency to veer away from the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. He was the only House Democrat to vote against a much broader version of the bill, the Build Back Better Act, citing a tax change that would primarily benefit the wealthy. Last week, however, he only had positive things to say about the new draft law in Lisbon.
He particularly praised provisions allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with companies, a move he has supported for years along with moderate D-West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who after a year and a half was instrumental in co-authoring the package. half of the political haggling over the spending bill.
In his Friday statement, Golden also contrasted the bill with other elements of President Biden’s “fiscally irresponsible” agenda, noting that the bill’s provisions would reduce the deficit.
“This legislation represents a dramatic reversal of misguided efforts over the past 18 months to pass sweeping, ill-conceived legislation that attempted to accomplish too many things,” Golden said.
Proponents estimate the law will reduce the deficit by around $300 billion over the next decade. The Congressional Budget Office estimated a net deficit decline of $102 billion, but that doesn’t include about $204 billion in new revenue expected from increased enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service.
However, experts generally agree that the bill will not do much to fight inflation. An analysis conducted last week by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business found that both their own analysis and one by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office showed the fall in inflation was “statistically indistinguishable from zero.”
Golden was the only Democrat in both houses to vote against final passage of a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill last year. He previously voted for another piece of legislation seen as a notable achievement for President Biden’s agenda, a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package in 2021.
Golden, who is running in a mostly rural county that voted for Trump in 2020, has underscored his willingness to oppose his party in his 2022 campaign, including in a campaign ad released earlier this month.
There were elements of the bill he disagreed with, including a provision shielding a tax break for private equity managers. A provision closing that gap was negotiated from the package by Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who was the last of 50 Democrats to sign in this chamber.
“Sen. Sinema and I just don’t agree on tax policy,” Golden said. “I generally want wealthy people and big, billion-dollar companies to pay more.”