Chairman Smith Opening Statement: Hearing on the U.S. Tax Code Subsidizing Green Corporate Handouts and the Chinese Communist Party
As prepared for delivery.
“We are here today to examine what has happened with the mountain of “green” special interest tax breaks in the President’s so-called “Inflation Reduction Act.” In the eight months since that law’s passage, three things are clear.
“Number 1: Taxpayers are footing a bill for these tax breaks that are hundreds of billions above what they were told. Some estimates reach as high as $1 trillion, over three times more than originally estimated. Other economists estimate the battery manufacturing credits alone will cost over $196 billion – a 542 percent increase.
“Number 2: The White House opened up convenient loopholes to make not only foreign countries, but even our adversaries like China, eligible to claim these taxpayer-funded subsidies.
“And number 3: The design of these credits has allowed large companies, big banks, and the already wealthy to make billions off the backs of hardworking American taxpayers.
“Ultimately, the White House and my colleagues on the other side pushed through these corporate welfare subsidies that cost more than three times as much as they told us it would, while paying big dividends to big business and China.
“While the wealthy and politically connected get a massive windfall from the IRA’s taxpayer-subsidized handouts, working families, small business owners, and farmers are struggling. Witnesses at Ways and Means field hearings have told us of the challenges they face to hire, make payroll, or afford input materials because of the President’s inflation crisis. I anticipate we will hear more of these challenging stories at our hearing Friday in Georgia.
“President Biden may succeed in strengthening the manufacturing sector – but for China, not the U.S.
“Solar cells manufactured in China and assembled into panels in the U.S. will qualify for these special interest tax breaks – even if they are implicated in human rights abuses. The world’s largest solar manufacturer is a Chinese company that just had its solar shipments confiscated at the border last fall over forced labor concerns. They are now planning to partner with a business in Ohio to utilize these very credits to build a facility here in the United States. Are these the type of businesses we should be rewarding?
“This is just one area where the Biden Administration has opened the door to China. To develop projects like EV battery manufacturing, U.S. companies are partnering with Chinese Communist Party-controlled companies that control over 50 percent of the processing capacity of key battery ingredients. Meanwhile, White House regulations and red tape make it difficult for America to develop critical resources for EV battery ingredients here at home.
“As congressional scorekeepers now realize, this money will get spent faster than expected. The Biden Administration is creating even new loopholes to benefit foreign companies and workers. The latest example is the Administration’s new critical minerals agreement with Japan that evades IRA safeguards and allows benefits to flow to foreign companies. No wonder USTR did not let the American people see the text of the agreement before signing it.
“This is a low-emission tax subsidy fire sale only Washington and Wall Street can love. These special, political tax breaks flow to big companies and big banks, with congressional scorekeepers estimating that large corporations today receive over 90 percent of them. These are companies with sales in excess of $1 billion. Financial institutions receive three times more than any other industry. And when it comes to the 15 percent minimum tax on corporations that Democrats touted last year to look tough on big business, they’ve exempted their special interest tax breaks from that rule, creating a loophole for their friends, donors, and politically favored corporations.
“American workers should not have to send money to Washington in order to subsidize big corporate virtue signaling about climate commitments and woke agendas.
“We cannot ignore these facts amidst misleading marketing about good intentions and climate change. Democrats sold America a bill of goods with the Inflation Reduction Act, and the sad part is, once again, Americans will pay the price.”