Ricketts, Democratic Party official verbally clash over Senate’s ‘inflation reduction’ proposal

Biden says bill would lower inflation, restore fairness to tax code

By: - August 4, 2022 6:49 pm

The U.S Capitol Building is prepared for the inaugural ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden as American flags are placed in the ground on the National Mall on January 18, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

LINCOLN — Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts and the head of the Nebraska Democratic Party verbally clashed Thursday over the expected impact of the U.S. Senate’s proposed $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act.

Ricketts, in a column and in a letter with 21 other governors, condemned the proposal as a “reckless tax and spending spree” that ignores high gas prices and the highest inflation in 40 years. 

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (Rebecca S. Gratz for the Nebraska Examiner)

“While denying recession, Democrats want to raise taxes on businesses and manufacturers, which will force higher costs onto consumers, worsen inflation, and aggravate shortages,” the statement from the 22 governors said.

But Kleeb, the chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, said 126 economists, including Nobel laureates, have signed a letter predicting that the Inflation Reduction Act will help bring down costs for American families. It will also require multinational corporations and “the super-rich” to pay their fair share of taxes, Kleeb said.

Jane Kleeb
Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party (Courtesy of Nebraska Democratic Party)

“Ricketts and Republicans conveniently forget to mention that in 2017 — led by MAGA Republicans — Congress gave massive government handouts to corporations and the super-rich. That was fiscal irresponsibility,” she said.

A week ago, Senate Democrats announced that they’d struck a deal with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III on a spending bill that would end corporate tax loopholes, address climate change, invest in energy projects and allow negotiations on some Medicare prescription drugs.

President Joe Biden has said the deal would fight inflation and lower costs for American families, as well as “restore fairness” to the nation’s tax code.

“The bill will lower health care costs for millions of Americans,” Biden said. “It will — and it will be the most important investment — not hyperbole — the most important investment that we’ve ever made in our energy security.”

Striking a deal with Manchin, who had opposed similar legislation in the past, would conceivably give Democrats enough votes to pass the bill in the U.S. Senate, although other Senate Democrats are still studying the legislation.

The letter from the 22 Republican governors calls the bill “reckless.” In his column, Ricketts said the Biden administration is putting “a radical environmental agenda” against the needs of Americans.

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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska state government and the state for decades. Previously with the Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha Sun, he is a member of the Omaha Press Club's Hall of Fame. He grows hops, brews homemade beer, plays bass guitar and basically loves traveling and writing about the state. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation.

Nebraska Examiner is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.