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U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, who in 2021 belatedly revealed her husband is a high-paid oil and gas consultant, said on Twitter Monday she will vote against the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and its largest ever, $369 billion investment in renewable energy.
The Silt Republican, who in 2020 also admitted to forgoing health insurance for her family of six – rolling the dice on catastrophic injury – will also vote against the $64 billion in Affordable Care Act subsidies and lower prescription drug prices for seniors in the IRA.
“During historically high inflation and an economic recession, [on Friday Democratic Speaker of the House] Nancy Pelosi will have us vote to raise taxes on the American people. This will be the easiest no vote yet,” Boebert tweeted Monday, apparently referring to the 15% corporate minimum tax on companies with $1 billion or more of income – a plan crafted in part by Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.
A Boebert spokesperson did not return several emails requesting clarification and further comment. Boebert’s Democratic opponent in the Nov. 8 general election, Aspen businessman and former town council member Adam Frisch, said through a spokesperson that he supports the overall $739 billion bill.
“Adam would absolutely vote for this bill,” Frisch spokeswoman Madeleine Schmidt said via email. “While no legislation is perfect, the Inflation Reduction Act helps out working families across CD3, Colorado, and America by protecting access to health care for people — including 28,000 residents of our district who purchase their health insurance through the exchange at risk of losing their coverage, lowering prescription drug costs, providing aid for communities, ranchers and farmers who are being hurt by the ongoing drought, increasing America’s energy independence, and reducing the deficit so we aren’t passing on costs to future generations.”
Colorado’s Western Slope has some of the highest health insurance rates in the nation and is also considered a climate change hotspot, with temperatures in some areas already warming 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit – more than twice the national average for manmade heating — according to scientists.
“By voting against this bill, Lauren Boebert is once voting against the people of her district, putting Colorado last, and weakening America,” Schmidt added.
The Senate passed the bill 51-50 Sunday with no Republican votes and Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaker. It was passed via the budget reconciliation process to avoid a GOP filibuster.
The IRA would raise $313 billion from the corporate minimum tax, $288 billion by allowing the government to negotiate pricing on certain prescription drugs for Medicare recipients, and $124 billion by beefing up IRS tax enforcement. Of that, $300 billion will be put toward deficit reduction.
“The Senate’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act is truly historic,” U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, a Lafayette Democrat, said in a release. “The bill will help address rising health care costs, boost American manufacturing, and would be the most significant climate legislation enacted in our country‘s history.”
Neguse lauded the bill’s $5 billion in forest and wildfire mitigation and $2 billion investment in scientific labs – both measures he pushed for in previous iterations of the bill known as Build Back Better. The slimmed-down version also includes $4 billion in drought mitigation measures crafted in part by Bennet and demanded by Arizona centrist Kyrsten Sinema.
Boebert, who represents most of the Western Slope, the San Luis Valley and Pueblo, made her opposition clear in a tweet late last month: “Only Democrats would have the audacity to introduce a bill with $800 billion [sic] in new spending on Green New Deal crap and then call it the ‘Inflation Reduction Act.””
Also on July 28, Boebert tweeted: “Let’s follow the science: We are in a recession. There are only 2 genders. Electric cars are charged by fossil fuels. COVID lockdowns were worthless.”
In her own congressional district, one local electric utility – Holy Cross Energy (HCE) – is on track to source 100% of its power from renewables by 2030 – one of the most ambitious plans in the nation. It’s currently at 44% renewables, which includes 10 megawatts of solar in Boebert’s hometown of Silt.
“While HCE has not reviewed the legislation in detail, we are encouraged by the extension of the tax credits for clean energy and the incentives for expanding the manufacturing of important clean energy technologies, such as batteries and electric vehicles, that are part of HCE’s plans for the responsible transition to a clean energy future,” HCE CEO Bryan Hannegan said in an email.
HCE is a rural electric association with more than 44,000 members from Vail to Parachute east to west on I-70 and south to Aspen. Its 44% renewable load is nearly 10% higher than the state percentage and more than twice the national average.
Conservation and renewable energy advocates are expecting a big boost from the IRA incentives.
“As a founding member of the Eagle County Climate Action Collaborative, we are excited to see the momentum with this transformational legislation to combat climate change and propel us to a clean energy future,” Walking Mountains Science Center Senior Programs Director of Sustainability Melissa Kirr wrote in an email statement.
“Locally we are anticipating increased demand and excitement for rebates and incentives associated with the Inflation Reduction Act,” she added. “At Walking Mountains, we are dedicated and eager to help our community navigate all the associated benefits and opportunities of this critical legislation that will aid our collective emissions reduction goals of 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, as outlined in our Climate Action Plan.”
Nationally, the climate spending portion of the IRA is expected to achieve 80% of the Biden administration’s Paris Climate Accords goal of cutting carbon emissions by 50% based on 2005 levels by 2030. The IRA caps a string of legislative successes for the administration – all of which Boebert has opposed.
Last year, Boebert voted against the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, with $550 billion in new spending for roads, bridges, railroads, broadband, water projects and more.
More recently, Boebert voted against $280 billion bipartisan Chips and Science Act to counteract China’s growing dominance in microprocessor manufacturing with incentives and tax breaks for increased domestic production. Twenty-four House Republicans voted for the bill.
Editor’s note: A version of this story first appeared on the Colorado Times Recorder website.