President of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist blasted Joe Biden, accusing the president of lying to Americans as the Inflation Reduction Act hits the middle class with taxes - contrary to his pledge not to raise taxes.
"If you tax a corporation, who pays for it? Workers in lower wages," he told "Mornings with Maria" on Tuesday, noting that consumers will be forced to pay more given higher prices will be a result of the legislation; investors in their 401(k) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) will be facing lower stock prices because of the bill.
"This all hits middle-income Americans," Norquist stressed. "The president knows that; he lied."
The tax expert also accused Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., of lying "when he said he wouldn’t support tax increases like this."
"He signed anyway So did Senator Sinema from Arizona; she knew better than this and still signed on," he continued.
Norquist stressed that, while President Biden repeatedly promised during his presidency and campaign not to raise taxes on any American earning less than $400,000 a year, the Democrats' spending and tax bill will raise taxes for everyone.
After months of painstaking negotiations, Senate Democrats on Sunday approved the sweeping health care and climate change spending package that amounts to one of the largest tax hikes in decades.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 – which passed along party lines with Democrats employing the budget reconciliation process – would raise an estimated $739 billion over the next decade, with the revenues going toward initiatives designed to combat climate change and curb pharmaceutical prices, as well as efforts to reduce the nation's $30 trillion debt.
It includes about $433 billion in new spending, while roughly $300 billion of the new revenue raised would go toward paying down the nation's deficit. Democrats say the legislation will help to reduce inflation and provide relief to Americans in the form of lower health care costs, while Republicans argue the measure does little to tackle higher prices – and could actually exacerbate the crisis.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in an analysis last week that the spending bill will have a negligible impact on inflation.
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The bill, which now heads to the House for a vote that could happen as soon as Friday, is a far cry from the ambitious $2 trillion agenda that President Biden rolled out last year that relied on major tax increases on wealthy Americans and corporations.
"This bill is far from perfect. It's a compromise. But it's often how progress is made," Biden said at the White House last week. "My message to Congress is this: This is the strongest bill you can pass."
"The president should be concerned because Congress made a liar out of him," Norquist said on Tuesday. "His biggest promise was that he would never would raise taxes on anyone who earned less than $400,000 a year."
He then noted that tax increase listed in the bill on the production of natural gas, crude oil and coal impacts all Americans.
"These hit everyone directly," he stressed. "They raise the cost of energy [and] they make people poorer."
Norquist then pointed to the fact that, under the legislation, the Internal Revenue Service would receive $80 billion in order to enhance tax enforcement by hiring more agents and introducing new technology to pursue tax dodgers.
Democrats expect a beefed-up IRS to add an extra $124 billion in revenue by cracking down on tax evasion by wealthy individuals and corporations.
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According to an analysis released by House Republicans, Americans who earn less than $75,000 per year are slated to receive 60% of the additional tax audits expected under Democrats' spending package.
The analysis, which is a conservative estimate based upon recent audit rates and tax filing data, shows that individuals with an annual income of $75,000 or less would be subject to 710,863 additional Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits while those making more than $1 million would receive 52,295 more audits under the bill. The Inflation Reduction Act would roughly double the IRS' budget to increase enforcement and, therefore, federal tax revenue.
"There is not more money from big companies or from rich people; they have been fully audited for years. They’re [the IRS] going after - if you read their literature, middle-income - self-employed people." Norquist argued. "That's their target."
He then pointed to the measure’s 1% excise tax on corporate stock repurchases that is poised to take effect in 2023. Democrats – who estimated this new levy will raise about $74 billion over the next decade – are hoping to slow companies' tendency to buy back their own stock from investors.
Norquist argued that "if a company buys back its stock - which increases the value of stock for people with an IRA, or 401(k), or if you are a government employee and your pension is backed by stocks held for you by your city or state - you are going to see the value of your life savings go down."
He stressed that "half the country" invests in the stock market through IRA or 401(k) accounts.
"Half the country has already been damaged by the president’s damage to the stock market, the value of people’s life savings," Norquist argued.
"If you’re saving your money in cash, he’s inflated it down to where it is worth less than it used to be; if you got into the stock market, it’s worth less than when he walked into office."
He then stressed that "this new tax will make it even worse for people who have 401(k)s, IRAs, who own shares of stock directly and to fund contribution pensions."
FOX Business’ Megan Henney and Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.