Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the Inflation Reduction Act, which will lower costs, fight climate change and reduce inflation. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
We approach the culmination of one of the most productive stretches in recent Senate memory. It began almost two months ago, when in the wake of unimaginable bloodshed in Buffalo and Uvalde, the Senate came together and passed the first gun safety law in nearly thirty years.
A few weeks later, in the face of the damaging semiconductor shortage, the Senate approved the largest investment in American manufacturing and scientific research in decades.
This week, we finally told American veterans with cancer, lung disease, and other terrible ailments that their wait for their benefits was over, by passing the PACT Act.
And a few days ago, as Russian aggression towards Ukraine continues, we swiftly approved the accession of Sweden and Finland to the NATO alliance, greatly strengthening that alliance in the face of Russian aggression.
Gun Safety, chips, veterans, NATO, all of this we got done in under six weeks, and now we have one more groundbreaking item left – the most important of them all: the Inflation Reduction Act. Passing any one of these bills in a summer would be significant, yet we are on the verge of getting all of them done before the August state work period.
In a few hours, we will formally begin the process of passing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 by voting on the motion to proceed.
Our meetings with the parliamentarian have now largely concluded, and we thank her and her staff for their hard work and diligence on such a large bill in such a short period of time. And now that our meetings with the parliamentarian have largely concluded, we have a bill before us that can win the support of all fifty Democrats.
I am happy to report to my colleagues that the bill we presented to the parliamentarian remains largely intact. The bill, when passed, will meet all of our goals: fighting climate change, lowering health care costs, closing tax loopholes abused by the wealthy, and reducing the deficit. This is a major win for the American people and a sad commentary on the Republican Party as they actively fight provisions that lower costs for American families.
As the Inflation Reduction Act works its way through the floor, the American people are going to learn an unmistakable truth about this proposal: it was written, first and foremost, with the American people in mind: it reduces inflation, it lowers their costs, and it fights climate change.
For seniors who’ve faced the indignity of rationing medications or skipping them altogether, the Inflation Reduction Act will lower prescription drug costs and finally cap out-of-pocket expenses.
For families that have fallen behind on the electric bill while trying to stay cool through a heat wave, this bill will lower energy costs and provide the largest investment in clean energy ever in American history.
For every child deprived of clean air and a neighborhood where they can play safely outside—away from smog and exhaust fumes—this bill will help reverse air pollution and help clean up communities that have endured the shadow of a congested highway and industrial site. And as the most significant action on climate change ever. It will help deliver our children and grandchildren the planet they deserve.
The Inflation Reduction Act was written with the American people in mind: families struggling to pay the bills, kids who struggle with asthma and pollution, seniors who can’t afford lifesaving medications. This bill is for them.
For years, many in Washington have promised to address some of the biggest challenges facing our nation, only to fall short. Many have talked about the need to act on climate change, the need to hold drug companies accountable, the need to make the tax code fairer.
But when previous efforts have fallen short, this Senate majority is on the verge of succeeding.
After years of trying, we will finally empower Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs.
After years of trying, we will finally cap out-of-pocket expenses and make vaccines free for our seniors.
And after years of trying—after years of Americans calling for action, particularly our young people—Congress will pass the largest clean energy package ever.
We will cut emissions by roughly 40% by 2030, helping us avert the worst consequences of a warming planet. That's a huge goal, and we're going to meet it.
We’ll prevent nearly 4,000 deaths and 100,000 asthma attacks each year by reducing air pollution.
We’ll save Americans money on their utility bill by making it easier for them to tap into clean energy, and expand incentives for utility companies to explore cleaner ways to generate power. We will make it easier to finally usher in the era of greater solar and wind power, battery storage and EVs, and bring manufacturing of this technology back to America.
We will restore
coastlines, regenerate our forests, shield communities everywhere from the
s of droughts and sweltering heat waves.
Through it all, we will create more than 9 million jobs over the next decade—good paying union jobs—an average of nearly 1 million a year. So many of those jobs, as I said, will be good-paying union jobs.
From the moment Democrats announced the Inflation Reduction Act, Senate Republicans have fruitlessly tried every approach under the sun to lay a glove on our bill.
First, they said our bill will make inflation worse, only to give up on that once everyone from Larry Summers to Hank Paulson to seven Nobel laureates said it would do the opposite.
Then they tried calling our bill a tax hike on the middle class, before changing their minds and actually admitting that the bill contains no tax rate increases at all for the middle class.
And at every turn they’ve resorted to decades-old talking points of calling our bill nothing but wasteful spending, conveniently ignoring that our bill in fact lowers the deficit and is completely paid for.
I will grant my Republican colleagues that their task is not easy: by one measure over 65% of Americans support the policies in the Inflation Reduction Act, and other polls reflect the same.
Republicans haven’t been able to get around the fact that Americans like that we are letting Medicare negotiate the price of prescription drugs. They like that we will close tax loopholes that allow billion dollar companies to pay zero in taxes.
And voices across the country—from Nobel-winning economists to former Treasury Secretaries to even Republican movie star ex-governors—have all praised the Inflation Reduction Act as an inflation-fighting, climate-saving, job-creating piece of legislation.
At a time of seemingly impenetrable gridlock, the Inflation Reduction Act will show the American people that when the moment demands it, Congress is still capable of taking big steps to solve big challenges.
We will show the American people that, yes, we are capable of passing a historic climate package, and rein in drug companies, and make our tax code fairer. We are able to make big promises and work hard at keeping them as well.
We know that Republicans will continue their mightiest to try and smear our work before the bill is passed. This isn’t our first time going through the reconciliation process, and no one is going to be surprised when the other side comes up with wild, misleading, and wholly partisan amendments that have nothing, nothing to do with our bill.
Those efforts will not deter us. No matter how long it takes, the Senate is going to stay in session to finish this bill.
In short, Madam President, this is one of the most comprehensive and far-reaching pieces of legislation that has come before the Congress in decades. It will help just about every citizen in this country and make America a much better place.
We are not leaving until the job is done. The American people deserve nothing less, so let us get to work today.