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WASHINGTON — All four of Utah's Republican congressmen voted against the Democrats' sweeping social spending bill Monday, including one who went so far as to call the legislation a "scam."
The House passed the roughly $2 trillion centerpiece of President Joe Biden's agenda after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy ended an all-night filibuster speech to delay the vote.
All but one Democrat voted for the package of tax, health care and climate initiatives, which amounts to the most significant restructuring of the safety net in decades. All Republicans voted against the bill.
"This bill is monumental, it's historic, it's transformative, it's bigger than anything we've ever done," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters after the vote.
The plan aims to make child care more affordable, extend the enhanced child tax credit for a year, create universal pre-K, speed up the transition to green energy, and expand Medicare and Medicaid.
The bill now goes to the Senate where it could be pared down and passed in a different version.
Biden praised House passage of the bill, noting it was the second time in two weeks that the chamber moved two "consequential" pieces of his legislative agenda. He described the vote as a "giant step forward in carrying out my economic plan to create jobs, reduce costs, make our country more competitive, and give working people and the middle class a fighting chance," according to NPR.
Utah Republicans in the House, who also voted against the nearly $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package and $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill earlier this year, don't see it that way.
"The Biden administration and congressional Democrats' $5 trillion scam will cripple families in Utah and across the country who are struggling to make ends meet," Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, said in a statement.
"Instead of easing these burdens and leading our country through an economic crisis, this far-left kitchen sink package uses budgetary gimmicks and sunsets to spend what we do not have on programs that we do not need."
Biden, he said, has for months tried to hide the true cost of this "cradle-to-grave socialist bill" and falsely claimed it comes at no cost to taxpayers.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office determined the Build Back Better Act would add $367 billion to the federal deficit over a decade.
"Rather than pushing these massive spending bills, our government needs to focus on tackling the crippling inflation, supply chain, and workforce shortages resulting from liberal policies," he said in a statement. "I will continue to work with my colleagues on ways we can more responsibly respect Americans' tax dollars and improve our economic outlook."
Moore said Democrats are trying to spend as much money as possible by "abusing" the budget reconciliation process. The narrow margin between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, he said, shows people don't want a "radical tax-and-spend" agenda.
"Instead of rising to this moment for bipartisanship, Democrats have left us with inflated prices that have jumped to their highest levels in 31 years on everyday goods from gas to groceries," he said.
After the vote, Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, reiterated a message he has delivered before on Democrats' spending proposals.
Curtis said the Biden administration and House Democratic leadership pushed through the multi-trillion partisan package on top of over $3 trillion in spending already passed this year as Americans reel from the effects of inflation, supply chain issues and high gas prices.
Inflation, he said, acts as a hidden tax that hurts fixed- and low-income people and damages the value of the dollar.
"It is indisputable that pumping more government money into the economy will worsen inflation, especially at such a significant rate," Curtis said.
After only 10 months of Biden in office, Americans are facing the worst inflation in 31 years, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, said on Twitter.
"And what is @POTUS doing to alleviate the financial strain so many families are feeling?" he tweeted. More taxing, spending, and mandating ... the very policies that put us in this hole."