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What You Didn't Know About the Inflation Reduction Act

know your facts undo the work Aug 03, 2022
Protest sign reads Planet over Profit

Last week, many of us were surprised to learn that the Democrats were still working behind the scenes to make progress on legislation to curb climate change and reduce prescription drug prices. Some people are happy that there’s a chance for progress, some complain that what’s in the bill is not enough, and others refuse to get excited because they expect Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kirsten Sinema (D-AZ) to bail at the last minute like Lucy yanking the football from Charlie Brown.

I’m cautiously hopeful that SOMETHING will get done, even if it’s not as much as I think we need. When so many people refuse to believe that human behavior affects the planet at all, I’ll take whatever progress I can get and try to build on that.

What’s in the Inflation Reduction Act?

According to the summary from Senate Democrats, the bill will:

  • make a historic down payment on deficit reduction to fight inflation by:
    • creating a 15% minimum corporate tax to raise over $313 billion* (no new taxes on small businesses, though)
    • increasing IRS tax enforcement to recover $124 billion** (no new taxes on families making $400,000 or less)
    • closing the carried interest loophole to recover $14 billion*
  • invest in domestic energy production and manufacturing
    • dedicating $369 billion*** to energy security and climate change
    • reforming the process to unlock domestic energy transmission projects so Congress can lower costs for consumers to help meet long-term energy goals
  • reduce carbon emissions by about 40% by 2030 by
    • increasing cleaner production
  • allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices
    • expecting a savings of $288 billion**
    • capping out-of-pocket costs at $2,000/year
  • extend the expanded Affordable Care Act program for three years, through 2025
    • dedicating $64 billion** to lower premiums and extend service

In total, the plan will raise $739 billion, $433 billion of which will be invested in climate change projects and the ACA. The other $300 billion will be used to reduce the deficit.

* = Joint Committee on Taxation estimate

** = Congressional Budget Office estimate

If this bill passes as is, it would be the biggest effort to tackle climate change by the US federal government in history.

What Could This Mean for Regular Folks?

Some of the projects include:

  • lowering the costs of electric vehicles through tax credits for consumers - $7,500 for buying a new electric vehicle or $4,000 for a used one
  • building out public charging stations for electric vehicles
  • $10 billion in grants and rebates for homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient
  • $60 billion to invest in low-income communities that are disproportionately burdened with pollution, including funds to purchase cleaner public transportation vehicles and reduce pollution from factories and ports

Funding will also be directed to:

  • plugging leaks of greenhouse gases from pipelines and wells
  • $20 billion to support agricultural practices that reduce emissions
  • Over $60 billion to support U.S. clean energy manufacturing, including:
    • $30 billion in incentives for wind, solar and battery production
    • $10 billion in tax credits for the construction of facilities that make electric cars and renewable energy technologies
    • $2 billion in grants to renovate existing car factories for electric vehicles
  • $30 billion in grants and loans to help states and electric utilities transition to cleaner forms of electricity

What can you do to increase the chance that this bill passes?

  • Call your legislators! Make sure they know that you want climate change legislation and agree that Medicaid should be able to negotiate prescription prices like the drug companies do.
  • Tell your friends what’s happening. Share this article if that makes it easy!
  • Find out what’s happening locally. Is there a group who is already pushing for renewable energy in your area? Could they use your support to lobby Congress or get ready to apply for the grants that are included in the bill? (No reason to wait to get the information in order and the local story together.)

Get In Your Body and Get Going

And remember, whether you’re ecstatic that something is possible or frustrated that it’s not enough, get centered in your body through movement or with a breath, choose your next action, and get to it.

Download 7 Words to Know When Talking About Racism. Agreeing on what words mean is one step towards having meaningful conversations.
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