On Friday, lawmakers in the US House of Representatives passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes a historic investment in efforts to combat climate change. The law now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature.
The bill provides about $375 billion over 10 years to help industry and consumers transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources. This includes about $4 billion for Western states to improve their resilience to drought. The proposal is a stripped-down version of Biden’s $2 trillion plan to increase spending on social programs and climate change, and the law aims to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
The bill provides about $64 billion to extend the Affordable Care Act to about 13 million people who need help paying health premiums for insurance purchased on the private market.
“It will make us more energy independent and less dirty,” Pocan said.
Representative of the House of Representatives from the Democratic Party of the United States, Gwen Moore, announced the law reduces health care costsand “Wisconsinans will feel its impact.” The bill would cap the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare recipients at $2,000 starting in 2025, and people would pay a maximum of $35 a month for insulin to treat diabetes.
“We’re making these big investments to ensure that corporations that frequently cheat the system pay a minimal share of their taxes and to go after wealthy tax evaders who too often evade their responsibilities,” Pocan added.
The bill would raise about $740 billion in revenue over the next 10 years, and Democrats say that includes about $222 billion from the 15 percent corporate tax floor. During the debate, Republican U.S. House Representative Brian Steele said he opposes raising taxes under the legislation.
We are in a recession. The last thing we should be doing is raising taxes.
— Brian Steil (@RepBryanSteil) August 12, 2022
The representative of the House of Representatives from the Republican Party of the USA, Tom Tiffany, called the bill a “golden bottom of taxes and costs” against the backdrop of record inflation. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the bill’s impact on inflation could be positive or negative, and its effects are largely uncertain.
About $300 billion in revenue will go toward reducing the budget deficit, according to the legislation. The deficit reduction also pales in comparison to the $16 trillion in new debt expected over the next decade.
Republicans criticized Democrats over the bill, calling it the “Expansion Inflation Act.” One Republican lawmaker said the bill was an “armed robbery of taxpayers.”
The bill provides $80 billion for the Internal Revenue Service to hire workers and about $46 billion of that to strengthen law enforcement. Republicans said the proposal would increase background checks on people making less than $400,000 each year and would also lead to the hiring of nearly 87,000 new law enforcement officers.
“The first is that there are a lot more people watching Americans, and anybody who wants a free society should be afraid of that,” said Rep. Glenn Grothman, Republican of the US House of Representatives.
Politifact reported that the 87,000 figure refers to agency workers, adding that many of the hires are intended to stabilize the staff following budget cuts and a wave of projected retirements. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement Thursday that the administration is committed to not increasing the level of audits of Americans who earn less than $400,000 a year.
Grothman also said the bill contains too much corporate welfare, citing billions in tax credits for green industries. He also questioned the bill’s spending increases for the Bureau of Indian Affairs at a time when he said Americans were “suffocating” from inflation.
Editor’s note: The Associated Press contributed to this report.