August 18, 2022 by Christine Brown
The anger resulting from SCOTUS’s destruction of women’s rights has woken the electorate and the tide is turning in our favor. But it sure is nice to have something positive to run on as well! Although it’s not everything in Build Back Better, it is crucial legislation that shows how Democrats can govern.
It’s really a BFD – and has many important provisions (full text of bill). What is in the Inflation Reduction Act?
It’s a Climate Bill.
Robert Hubbell discusses the Climate gains and losses in his newsletter Celebrating A Long-term Accomplishment “The bill is the most significant investment in the climate crisis ever, and that investment came with steep concessions to the fossil fuel industry. The bottom line is that the legislation may help reduce carbon emissions in the US by 40% in the next decade.”
He continues in Biden Signs the IRA “The Inflation Reduction Act is a sprawling piece of legislation that includes hundreds of provisions that will become apparent over time. An article in Vox lists several provisions that have received little attention. See Vox, The Inflation Reduction Act does more than clean energy and EV tax credits. Per Vox, the IRA includes,
- $3 billion for community cleanup to ameliorate the effects of pollution and contamination in low-income neighborhoods. The money can be used for capping abandoned oil wells, installing noise barriers near freeways, reducing urban heat islands, reconnecting communities separated by highways, creating regional greenways, and building multi-use trails.
- $10 billion to cover costs of rural electrical co-ops moving away from coal-based electrical generation (including shutting down 172 coal-fired generating facilities).
- $5 billion in block grants to states trying to reduce their carbon footprints. Applicants are not limited to the governors or legislatures but can include independent public utilities seeking to decrease carbon emissions.
- $20 billion for “climate-smart” agriculture and forestry practices, which will encourage farmers to capture carbon by planting “cover crops” and invest in protecting “old growth” forests that serve as carbon sinks.”
It’s a Healthcare bill.
Hubbell’s The Bonfire of Insanity details the healthcare provisions. “For Medicare enrollees the IRA
- caps “out-of-pocket” drug costs at $2,000 per year
- creates an average cost reduction per enrollee of $800 per year by allowing the government to negotiate prices for 100 drugs
- sets a cap of $35 per month for insulin supplies. (Senate Republicans defeated a provision that would have extended the $35 monthly cap on insulin to all Americans.)
It’s a tax reform bill
Don’t forget that this bill pays for itself. Robert Hubbell continues by detailing the tax code changes in which the IRA:
- doubles tax credits for small businesses engaged in research and development, thereby incentivizing innovation.
- creates US jobs by specifying that tax credits for electric vehicles apply only to autos assembled in the United States. See The Hill, Setting the record straight on the Inflation Reduction Act.
- Hires 80,000 new IRS agents who have been ordered “not to increase audits of households making less than $400,000 per year”—See CNN, Yellen directs IRS not to use new funding to increase chances of audits of Americans making less than $400,000. Indeed, a substantial portion of the new IRS agents will simply replace 50,000 IRS agents lost through attrition and cuts over the last decade
- pays for these improvements by imposing a minimum 15% tax on corporations generating more than $1 billion per year. That provision aligns the US with 136 other countries that have adopted a similar minimum corporate tax—an effort designed to stop multinational corporations from evading taxes by playing a high-stakes, real-life game of “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”
What’s our job? Share and talk about this with friends and family – make sure they know why you think it is important. Don’t let our awareness of what is left to be done inhibit the celebration of a real start. For Inspiration, US Rep. Mikie Sherrill cites respected climate activist Daniel Hunter, who said,
Who will want to join … if it’s all sadness and misery? Who will acknowledge our contributions if we fail to name them ourselves?” Sherrill concludes, “Cynicism, in other words, does not build power – only hope can do that.”