Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) on Sunday decried a climate, health care and tax deal struck by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), saying he was “really surprised” that Manchin agreed to the bill.
“I like Joe Manchin very much, he and I’ve become friends over the years that we’ve served together in the Senate,” Toomey told CNN “State of the Union” co-anchor Jake Tapper.
“But it really looks to me like Joe Manchin has been taken to the cleaners,” Toomey said.
The bill funds an array of climate provisions, allocates $300 billion to reduce the deficit and extends expiring health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
Toomey called the bill a “disaster” that would make inflation worse, in particular criticizing provisions establishing a 15 percent minimum corporate tax on companies with profits exceeding $1 billion.
He argued the provision would hurt manufacturing by making companies’ investments more expensive, saying it would reverse actions taken as part of Republicans’ 2017 tax cut package.
“We made this change, Jake, very consciously, predicting correctly as it turned out, that it would accelerate the investment in American manufacturing,” Toomey said. “The Democrats are going to blow that up.”
Toomey also said the bill would “do nothing” to combat climate change despite $369 billion to fund energy-focused climate programs over the next 10 years, arguing that climate issues remain in other countries even if the United States eliminated its carbon emissions.
“What we need is a strong economy and the ability to find the innovation and the technology that will allow us on a massive commercial scale to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere,” Toomey said. “But these gestures, they may feel good, they’re not gonna accomplish it.”
Schumer and Manchin are aiming to pass the bill before the Senate departs for its upcoming August recess.
The package is a fraction of the spending Democrats hoped to pass in their multi-trillion Build Back Better bill, which Manchin tanked late last year.
Democrats are arguing the bill would curb high inflation, dubbing the package as the Inflation Reduction Act, after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that inflation hit 9.1 percent in June.