(CNN) — Herschel Walker, the Republican Senate nominee in Georgia, criticized the spending provisions in the newly passed health care and climate law, including money allocated for an urban forestry program which he dismissed as unnecessary.
“[A] lot of money it’s going to trees. Don’t we have enough trees around here?” Walker said at a Republican Jewish Committee event near Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In a follow-up tweet Monday evening, Walker doubled down on his criticism, directing it toward his Democratic opponent, Sen. Raphael Warnock, and President Joe Biden.
“Yes, you heard me right,” Walker tweeted. “Joe Biden and @ReverendWarnock are spending $1.5 billion on ‘urban forestry’ and raising taxes on those making under $200k to pay for it. Yes, I have a problem with that.”
The law does not directly raise taxes on Americans making under $200,000 per year. And Democrats say families making less than $400,000 per year will not be affected, in line with a pledge by Biden.
However, Republican lawmakers have seized on a Joint Committee on Taxation report that shows that the measures will indirectly hit lower-income and middle-class Americans. Economists expect that employers will pass along a portion of the corporate tax to workers in the form of lower wages.
Walker’s campaign did not reply to a request for further comment, but the Republican candidate appears to be referring to a provision in the sweeping $750-billion law that provides the US Forest Service with $1.5 billion for a program to plant and improve forests and trees in urban areas.
While advocates for the law and environmental groups have touted the provision as a boon to cities with relatively low tree growth, the provision is just one of several that Republican candidates like Walker have assailed as wasteful government spending.
Walker in particular has targeted climate-change related policies and spending, at times speaking confusingly about the issue.
“Since we don’t control the air, our good air decided to float over to China’s bad air. So when China gets our good air, their bad air got to move. So it moves over to our good air space. Then — now we got we to clean that back up,” Walker said last month at a local GOP event.
Walker’s verbal gaffes have raised concerns among Georgia and national Republicans about his race, which is a top priority for the GOP. The campaign has seen a slew of reinforcements from experienced Republican operatives in the last several weeks in an attempt to right the ship and better prepare Walker for his showdown in November against Warnock.
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