Nets Ignore Tax Increase in Budget Bill, Parrot WH Talking Points Instead

Political News

The networks were ecstatic when Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced his support for the Inflation Reduction Act. So ecstatic, that they seemingly forgot their role as journalists, instead mindlessly parroting White House talking points about the bill despite the Joint Committee on Taxation saying it would increase taxes on people earning less than $400,000, despite the Biden administration’s promises.

On ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday, ABC Congressional correspondent Rachel Scott blithely listed the package of goodies promised by the scaled-back Build Back Better bill:

If they pull it off, it would be the largest investment in climate in U.S. history, putting $369 billion toward climate and energy initiatives, including tax credits for buying electric vehicles, a major investment in healthcare to lower premiums for Americans buying their own health insurance, and it would also lower the cost of medication for seniors. All of this would be paid for by increasing taxes on big corporations and the wealthy. 

Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos did ask Scott, “And one of the big questions will be what impact will this have on inflation?”

Rachel dutifully repeated the party line, “It’s interesting in the name of the bill, the Inflation Reduction Act. Democrats argue that it puts billions of dollars toward tackling the deficit, that it would help reduce inflation, but one outside analysis shows that it would slightly increase inflation until 2024 before bringing it back down.”

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Brilliant, insightful journalism here: it’s in the name! Of course, a bill named the Inflation Reduction Act could only be good for the American taxpayer. No bill is ever named something misleading to give bad optics to anyone who votes against it.

The Sunday night shows were worse.

On ABC’s World News Tonight, MaryAlice Parks couldn’t even be bothered to deal with whether or not the bill will actually help fight inflation, let alone lead to a tax increase, simply repeating, “Democrats hoping to finally pass their budget deal that would allow Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs, set a 15 percent corporate minimum tax, and make historic investments in clean energy.”

This bill is over 700 pages long, and ABC couldn’t be bothered to do due diligence on its contents beyond the White House’s SparkNotes summary?

CBS Weekend News tried to give Biden credit for the breakthrough, depicting him as a valiant keyboard warrior fighting from the shroud of his COVID-induced isolation, “President Biden took to Twitter, showing that despite his COVID rebound, he’s using his bully pulpit to push for a scaled-down Build Back Better bill, now titled the Inflation Reduction Act.”

At least CBS had the integrity to play a clip of Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) saying, “Well, it’s going to make inflation worse, actually…I like Joe very much, but I think he got taken to the cleaners.” 

Toomey’s actual concerns were never mentioned, mainly, the Joint Committee on Taxation’s findings that the Inflation Reduction Act actually increases taxes on those making less than $400,000 a year, despite Biden’s promise and Manchin’s reassurances that no such tax hike would occur. 

But that would require giving a nuanced presentation of both sides of an issue, which no self-respecting propaganda outlet could do.

This latest example of selective media amnesia was made possible by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Their contact information is linked.

Click “Expand” to see the relevant transcript.

ABC’s Good Morning America
08/01/22
7:14:22 AM ET

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to Capitol Hill, where Congressional Democrats are racing to pass a climate and healthcare bill ahead of the August recess. The stakes are high, the margins are close. Congressional correspondent Rachel Scott is tracking it all. Good morning, Rachel.

RACHEL SCOTT: George, good morning. It is down to the wire for Senate Democrats now scrambling to get this economic bill passed before they leave town for August recess on Friday. 

If they pull it off, it would be the largest investment in climate in U.S. history, putting $369 billion toward climate and energy initiatives, including tax credits for buying electric vehicles, a major investment in healthcare to lower premiums for Americans buying their own health insurance, and it would also lower the cost of medication for seniors. All of this would be paid for by increasing taxes on big corporations and the wealthy. 

But this morning, it is unclear if Democrats have the votes they need to get it passed. They need the support of all 50 Senate Democrats and right now, there’s still one big holdout, Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has not indicated if she plans to vote yes, George. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: And one of the big questions will be what impact will this have on inflation? 

SCOTT: Yes George, and it’s interesting in the name of the bill, the Inflation Reduction Act. Democrats argue that it puts billions of dollars toward tackling the deficit, that it would help reduce inflation, but one outside analysis shows that it would slightly increase inflation until 2024 before bringing it back down, George. 

(…)

ABC’s World News Tonight
07/31/22
6:14:55 PM ET

MARYALICE PARKS: This week, the President on the verge of a major win. Democrats hoping to finally pass their budget deal that would allow Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs, set a 15 percent corporate minimum tax, and make historic investments in clean energy. 

Senator Joe Manchin, a longtime holdout in the party, explaining to ABC’s Jonathan Karl how he finally got to “yes.” 

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV) [on ABC’s This Week, 07/31/22]: I was — uh, unbeknownst to me that there are people not paying any taxes whatsoever. These are the largest corporations in America and we just said it should be a floor of a 15% minimum. 

PARKS: Now because this big bill that Democrats are trying to pass is strictly a budget bill they can do it this week with just 50 votes, but that means every Democrat is needed. Everyone has to be there healthy, voting in person. And there’s still a big question around Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. She has not said yet whether she backs this bill.

(…)

CBS Weekend News
07/31/22
6:04:10 PM ET

JERICKA DUNCAN: Well, today marks 100 days until the midterm elections with President Biden stuck in isolation with Covid. CBS’s Serena Marshall is at the White House for us tonight with more on — uh, what Democrats are hoping will be a renew and a big push for big legislation. 

SERENA MARSHALL: Jericka, good evening. The President’s doctor says he’s feeling well, despite testing positive again, and it’s not stopping him from pushing for his agenda from behind closed doors. 

President Biden took to Twitter, showing that despite his COVID rebound, he’s using his bully pulpit to push for a scaled-down Build Back Better bill, now titled the Inflation Reduction Act. 

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D — WV) [on CBS’s Face the Nation, 07/31/22]: I never thought they would come to an agreement [SCREEN WIPE] These are solutions Americans want. 

MARSHALL: West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin struck a surprise deal last week with Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the 700-page bill, which includes the President’s priorities from energy to healthcare, with Manchin even taking to the Sunday shows to defend the new bill. 

MANCHIN [on NBC’s Meet the Press, 07/31/22]: We did not increase taxes, Chuck. [SCREEN WIPE] [on Fox’s Fox News Sunday, 07/31/22] We’ve closed loopholes. [SCREEN WIPE] [on ABC’s This Week, 07/31/22] We did not raise taxes, we closed loopholes.

MARSHALL: The Democrat who stood in the way of the President’s last legislative push said independent tax experts promised the new bill will help tame record inflation. Republicans disagree. 

SEN. PAT TOOMEY [on CBS’s Face the Nation, 07/31/22]: Well, it’s going to make inflation worse, actually. [SCREEN WIPE] I like Joe very much, but I think he got taken to the cleaners. 

MARSHALL: And with 100 days until the midterms, a new CBS News Battleground Tracker finds Republicans would hold a lead in the House if the election was held today, with the economy and inflation among the top issues for November. 

And Democrats plan to vote on the bill this week before heading out on their August recess, using reconciliation meaning they would only need 50 votes keeping their own caucus together. The outlier however remains Kyrsten Sinema, who has yet to say if she’ll vote for the bill.
 

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