On March 10th, 2023, the House Ways and Means Committee hosted a hearing with Treasury Secretary Yellen about President Biden’s budget, released the day prior. The hearing, which lasted more than three hours, was an opportunity for the new majority party to press the Secretary on many of the fiscal policies of the Biden Administration and was marked by terse exchanges and frequent interruptions of the Secretary’s comments. Representative Sanchez (D-CA) noted how frequently the Secretary was interrupted while trying to answer the questions posed to her, saying, “it’s disappointing to see some of my colleagues talk down to you, use profanity and not allow you to finish your answers here at this hearing and I think it’s important to call out their kind of behavior.”
Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) started the hearing by highlighting the increase in taxes and new spending in the proposed budget, spoke about the coming debt crisis, and questioned the increased funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) above the recent increases in the Inflation Reduction Act. Secretary Yellen clarified that the new spending is paid for by raising taxes on corporations and individuals making more than $400K per year. She also pointed to the improved customer service at the IRS this year. Other themes raised by Republican members throughout the hearing included inflation, worries about new taxes on small businesses, and concerns about workforce participation.
Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) spoke about the economic recovery that has happened during this Administration, particularly job creation and praised the Administration’s inclusion of the expanded Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and Child and Dependent Care Credit, policies that provide relief to families and individuals. Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) drew attention to additional supports for youth aging out of foster care, as well as the proposal to make the Adoption Tax Credit fully refundable, and Representative Blake Moore (R-UT) noted the unfairly high rate of audits on families that claim the Adoption Tax Credit. Representative Suzan Delbene (D-WA) highlighted changes to the Housing Tax Credit that will expand affordable housing.
The hearing showcased the priorities of the two parties and exposed the differences that will make budgeting hard in a divided Congress.