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GOP inflation reporting bill draws bipartisan House backing

House-passed legislation would require inflation impact statements for major executive orders

Nevada Democratic Rep. Susie Lee, shown in her House office in January, is among the dozens of Democrats who crossed the aisle to vote for the bill.
Nevada Democratic Rep. Susie Lee, shown in her House office in January, is among the dozens of Democrats who crossed the aisle to vote for the bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

​The House passed a Republican-drafted messaging bill Wednesday designed to express concern about Biden administration policies that backers said have spurred inflation, with support from both sides of the aisle.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York, would require the administration to assess the inflationary impact of major executive orders. No Democrats co-sponsored the measure, but it ultimately passed on a 272-148 vote with 59 Democrats crossing the aisle to support the bill.

The legislation would direct the Office of Management and Budget and the Council of Economic Advisers to assess whether those orders would have “no significant impact” on inflation or a “quantifiable impact on the consumer price index” or a “significant impact” of which the extent can’t be immediately determined.

“Whether it was canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline on his first day in office, to pushing his out-of-touch and costly Green New Deal regulations, [President] Joe Biden has fueled this inflation crisis and caused this inflation crisis working with the previous radical, socialist Democrat majority,” Stefanik said during floor debate.

She said her bill would provide “transparency” to the public “by revealing just how much Biden’s executive orders are costing hard-working families and the painful impact that has on inflation.”

The debate reflected an attempt by Republicans to blame Biden for inflation that reached a 40-year high during his tenure. Republicans fault Democratic spending, particularly a 2021 pandemic relief law, for the spike. Democrats say high inflation was a global phenomenon triggered mostly by supply chain disruptions from the pandemic, along with food and fuel cost spikes from the Ukraine war.

Most Democrats dismissed the bill as a partisan stunt that would impose administrative costs while doing nothing to curb inflation. The measure is unlikely to survive in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

“While Democrats passed numerous laws last Congress that are successfully reducing inflation every month, House Republicans have come up with nothing more than a study in response,” said Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo.

Lingering concerns

Still, the 59 Democrats who voted for Stefanik’s bill include a broad cross section of the caucus, underscoring bipartisan concerns with lingering inflation that isn’t declining nearly as fast as economists once expected.

They included members with swing seats targeted by Republicans, like four Democrats who carried districts that backed former President Donald Trump in 2020: Jared Golden of Maine; Marcy Kaptur of Ohio; Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez of Washington and Mary Peltola, Alaska’s at-large representative. 

Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., who won a close race last year and is now gunning for the Senate seat that Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is vacating, voted for the measure, as did a number of freshman Democrats and others who were part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline incumbent protection program.

Democrats in deep-blue districts also voted for it, such as Rhode Island’s David Cicilline, who is resigning his seat in June, and others who won blowout victories last November like Texas’ Al Green, Illinois’ Mike Quigley and Indiana’s André Carson.

Four Republicans voted against the measure: Andy Biggs of Arizona, Bob Good of Virginia and Matt Rosendale of Montana — all of whom were holdouts to the end against the election of Speaker Kevin McCarthy — as well as Texas’ Chip Roy.

Lawmakers rejected a Roy amendment before final passage on a party-line vote that would have removed exemptions in the bill for executive orders related to national security and emergency response.

Amendments

Several amendments adopted during the debate tightened the bill’s requirements.

While the original bill called for requiring inflationary assessments for executive orders with an annual budgetary impact of at least $1 billion, Republicans decided they would be letting too many executive orders escape scrutiny. So, on a voice vote, they adopted an amendment by House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James R. Comer, R-Ky., that also would require assessments for executive orders that have a gross economic effect of at least $1 billion, instead of just a budgetary effect.

Republicans then decided that even that requirement wasn’t strict enough. On another voice vote, the House adopted an amendment by Scott Perry, R-Pa., to reduce the reporting threshold to encompass all executive orders with an annual economic effect of at least $1 million, instead of $1 billion.

Another amendment adopted by voice vote, by Michael Cloud, R-Texas, would require the inflationary assessments to include the impact of debt servicing costs associated with the executive orders.  

Freshman Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., whose claims to be an “economist” have been called into question by local media that obtained his academic records, won voice-vote adoption of his amendment to require the inflation assessments to include impacts on the producer price index as well as the consumer price index.

Other amendments that won broad bipartisan support include:

  • An amendment by conservative firebrand Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican who embraces the label “ultra-MAGA,” adopted on a 386-31 vote to require that the OMB post on its website the annual reports compiling the inflation statements required under the bill. 
  • An amendment by House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mike Bost, R-Ill., to require the inflation impact statements to take into account the spending patterns of military personnel and residents of rural households. It was adopted 324-83.
  • An amendment from Susie Lee, D-Nev., adopted 364-56, that would clarify that nothing in the bill should be “construed to suggest that the task of combating inflation and bringing down the cost of living is the sole responsibility of the Executive Office of the President, and not also a key pursuit of the United States House of Representatives during the 118th Congress through thoughtful, productive legislative action.” Lee, who won her race by just 4 points last November, is among the 59 Democrats who voted for the underlying bill.

Daniel Hillburn contributed to this report.

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