The American people won a huge victory today when the United States House of Representatives adopted the Inflation Reduction Act approved by the United States Senate last Sunday, sending the historic climate and health focused legislation to the desk of President Joe Biden to be signed into law.
220 Democratic members of the House voted to pass the bill, while 207 Republicans voted against the legislation. Four Republicans skipped the vote, but the entire Democratic caucus held together with no defectors.
The roll call from the Pacific Northwest was therefore along party lines:
Voting Yea to Pass the Bill: Democratic Representatives Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith, and Marilyn Strickland (WA), Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Pete DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader (OR)
Voting Nay Against the Bill: Republican Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), Cliff Bentz (OR), Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson (ID), Matt Rosendale (MT)
Note: Alaska is currently unrepresented in the United States House.
As summarized by Representative Kim Schrier’s office, the bill helps families by:
- Allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices
- Capping annual out of pocket costs for Medicare recipients at $2,000, saving them thousands of dollars a year
- Capping insulin costs for seniors at $35/month
- Penalizing drug companies for unfairly hiking prices
- Investing in forest resiliency to prevent catastrophic wildfires
- Supporting small forest landowners to improve forest health
- Funding climate-smart agriculture programs
- Boosting clean energy manufacturing in the U.S.
- Creating credits for new and used electric vehicles
- Investing in a reliable 21st Century electric grid
- Providing home energy efficiency rebates
- Reducing air pollution by providing funding to ports to reduce emissions, and cracking down on oil and gas companies that have significant methane leakage
“Thank you to all of our Members for the unity, optimism and persistence you have brought to this fight,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a Dear Colleague congratulatory letter. “This historic achievement would not have been possible without the leadership of House Democrats, who laid the foundation for many of the life-saving and life-changing provisions in this bill.”
“Proudly, this legislation is a giant step forward in President Biden and Democrats’ relentless commitment to justice: from economic and health equity to tax fairness to environmental justice. And in keeping with Democrats’ fiscal responsibility, all of these monumental investments are fully paid for – ensuring the biggest corporations and ultra-rich tax cheats pay their fair share.”
More is needed, but this bill is a breakthrough
NPI supports the Inflation Reduction Act. There is much more we need to do if we are to succeed in combating the climate crisis.
But with this legislation, we’ve won something important: the first ever bicameral vote in Congress to pass a mostly climate and health focused bill. This truly is a breakthrough. Sometimes, the first step is the hardest. We’ve now taken that first step. It wasn’t easy: Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema aren’t team players and aren’t concerned with the future of the Earth, our common home. Their objections had to be overcome and their demands for concessions satisfied.
There are some bad provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act. But those are outweighed by investments we have long needed very badly.
A more progressive Congress could follow up on the Inflation Reduction Act with legislation that gets us closer to where we need to be.
We don’t know if that Congress will exist next year yet, or whether the next Congress will be dominated by worshipers of Donald Trump.
The people of the United States face a stark choice this year. They can elect a Congress that will make more progress or they can elect a Congress that will be totally consumed by conflict and confrontation with the executive branch.
Vice President Harris’ statement
“Thanks to President Joe Biden’s leadership, and the hard work of Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, the Inflation Reduction Act is off to the President’s desk,” said Vice President Kamala Harris, who cast the tiebreaking fifty-first vote.
“Because of this, we will lower the cost of prescription drugs for our seniors and reduce health insurance premiums for thirteen million Americans.”
“We will make the largest investment in our nation’s history to address the climate crisis, creating good-paying, union jobs in wind, solar, and electric vehicle manufacturing. We will lower energy bills for working families and support environmental justice. And, the legislation is fully paid for by finally ensuring the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share. This is an historic achievement for our country that will directly benefit millions of Americans.”
“Unfortunately, not a single Republican in Congress voted for the package. Not a single Republican voted to lower the cost of prescription drugs, reduce health insurance premiums, make investments to address the climate crisis, tackle inflation, or require the wealthiest corporations to pay their fair share.”
“In the eighteen months since President Biden and I took office, we have created nearly ten million jobs, and helped to rescue small businesses; begun upgrading our roads and bridges and removing lead pipes; and we are making sure high-speed internet is available and accessible for all Americans. There is more work to do. But it is clear our nation is moving in the right direction.”
“These achievements reflect the determination of the American people and the vision President Biden and I laid out at the beginning of our Administration to take on the challenges of today and build a strong, prosperous future for America.”
DNC celebrates passage
“What a week! We did what we always do: we stood with the American people, fighting to lower costs and address their everyday needs,” said DNC Chair Jaime Harrison. “Rather than join us, Republicans sided with big corporations and wealthy special interests. They turned their backs on middle-class folks.”
“Without a single Republican vote, Democrats in Congress took on special interests and won. They took decisive action to lower the cost of prescription drugs, lower energy costs, and lower health care costs. They voted to reduce the deficit to help fight inflation. Democrats also took aggressive action to fight the climate crisis that will create jobs and increase our energy security. Finally, they made sure large corporations and billionaire tax cheats would pay their fair share in taxes, without middle-class families paying a penny more in taxes.”
“While Republicans in Congress and across the country pursue an ultra-MAGA agenda at the expense of working families, Democrats keep making progress on the everyday issues that matter to American families.”
“The list is long: health care for veterans who served bravely, an historic economic recovery and job growth, smart investments to bring back American manufacturing and win the economic competition of the 21st century, a once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment, the first major gun safety legislation in decades, and so much more.”
“Democrats are getting it done. We’re continuing to deliver for the American people on a historic scale. The Democratic National Committee is excited and ready to make sure every voter across the country knows it.”
NGA: Young voters helped secure passage
“Today’s historic move to combat climate change would not have been possible without the organizing power of young people who have turned out and voted in record numbers to advance bold climate legislation,” said NextGen America President Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez.
“As we approach the midterms, let today serve as a warning – young people can and will decide the future of our country.”
“Over seventy million Americans ages 18–35 are now eligible to vote, making them the largest voting bloc in the country. Young people have the power in numbers to vote out extremist Republicans who would rather answer to corporate greed than the needs of their communities – and they’ll be voting for people that represent their vision for a green-energy future.”
Excerpt from Kim Schrier’s statement
“This bill brings much needed relief to my constituents who are feeling the weight of inflation and high gas prices,” said U.S. Representative Kim Schrier, D‑WA-08.
“It helps families continue to afford health insurance.”
“And it takes important steps to tackle this rapidly changing climate that presents new threats and disasters every year. Finally!”
“And it does this all by making sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share of taxes like we all do, and without raising taxes for middle class families. This bill is a series of wins for the people I represent in Washington’s 8th District.”
Excerpt from Suzan DelBene’s statement
“Today is a historic day for American families, our seniors, and our economy,” said U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene, D‑WA-01.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is the culmination of a year of negotiating and the final product we are sending to President Biden will provide benefits that Americans will feel right away while making important investments in our clean energy future. To anyone who says that Congress cannot do big or good things anymore, we proved them wrong today, again.”
Excerpt from Marilyn Strickland’s statement
“Across the South Sound, families have struggled to put food on the table, fill up their gas tank, and make payments for basic living expenses due to rising costs,” said U.S. Representative Marilyn Strickland, D‑WA-10.
“The Inflation Reduction Act lowers costs across the board, from prescription drugs to transit to the climate crisis and much more. I look forward to this bill becoming law and providing needed relief for South Sound families. ”
We’ll continue to update this post with additional reaction as we get it.
[…] The Republican Party seems to have adopted a strategy of permanent denial, spotlighted in resistance to the mid-summer Inflation Reduction Act, the first real climate action investment package ever authorized by Congress. […]