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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Introduction Of The Inflation Reduction Act To Lower Costs, Fight Climate Change, And Make Health Care More Affordable

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

Last night, Senator Manchin and I announced an agreement on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a bill that will take historic steps to lower costs, fight climate change, and make health care more affordable in this country.

Again, the past twenty-four hours have been a legislative one-two punch that Americans rarely ever see and which will benefit them immensely: first a bill that will supercharge American industry, and now a bill that will fight inflation and mark a turning point in our fight against climate change.

This morning, I met with my Democratic colleagues to review the big wins contained in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, and we discussed our plan for passing it through reconciliation next week.

With the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, this Senate Majority will finally take on Big Pharma and lower prescription drug prices.

This Senate Democratic majority will tackle the climate crisis with the largest package on climate ever.

This Senate majority will ensure we close tax loopholes and make the wealthiest corporations and individuals pay their fair share.

And this Senate Democratic majority will fight inflation and reduce the deficit. The Inflation Reduction Act is common sense, it is bold, and it is very much needed.

For decades, many in Washington have promised to address these challenges. But where previous efforts have fallen short, Senate Democrats in this majority will move swiftly to deliver for the American people.

Now, there is so much to like in the Inflation Reduction Act: by a wide margin, this legislation will be the largest action on climate change ever passed by the Congress.

Like the creation of the EPA and the passage of the Clean Air Act half a century ago, this legislation will mark a turning point in our nation’s commitment to protect our planet for our children and our grandchildren.

Through this bill, we will at last put the US on a path to roughly 40% emission reductions by 2030. And it will help us achieve climate justice for communities long left behind, especially communities of color.

But that’s not all. For many years, people in Washington—including President Trump, including the Republican Senate—promised to lower the costs of prescription drugs, but they failed to follow through.

Under this Senate Democratic Majority, that’s changing: our proposal will finally lower the cost of prescription drugs by empowering Medicare—for the first time ever—to negotiate the prices of certain drugs in Part B and Part D.

We will prevent health care premiums from skyrocketing for millions of Americans in the coming months.

And through it all, we will ensure that no small business or family making under $400,000 a year will see their taxes go up. Republicans go on and on and on about how this is a tax on the American people: No, Republicans! You try to hide the truth! The truth is this bill will close tax loopholes exploited by the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations and will not touch Americans who make below $400,000 a year. Why don't you say that? Because you know your tax policies are so unpopular with the American people, which we proved in 2017. You tried the same shibboleth then: oh, we're cutting taxes for the American people. We Democrats made clear to the American people, no, no, no: Republicans were cutting taxes on the very wealthy, and by the time the 2018 campaigns rolled around, you didn't even mention it. We're going to do the same thing now. We're going to tell the truth, yes, we are raising taxes on very wealthy people and big corporations that pay no money – not on average Americans. And you are afraid to do that. The American people want these tax reforms – they support making sure the ultra rich and big corporations play by the rules and pay their fair share. That’s common sense. The American people know that.

So when Republicans fret and panic about taxes, the truth is what they really hate is the idea of increasing taxes on big business and those at the very top, and they’re afraid to admit it to the American people who know they’re on the wrong side of the issue.

As I said, Republicans should have learned their lesson in 2018 when the American people rejected their tax cuts for rich Americans.

We all saw the results of what happens when Republicans cut taxes for the ultra rich and corporations: it fueled hundreds of billion in corporate stock buybacks—and since then, stock buybacks have only increased. According to S&P, buybacks are forecasted to reach a trillion dollars this year.

The American people don’t want a tax code that’s skewed to the 1%, which is what happen under Republicans under President Trump when they had the majority. Republicans really know that. So they, in fear, they distract and distort and ignore the fact that under our plan, small business and middle class family making under $400K wont see their taxes go up at all.

It’s the same thing for the deficit: for years Republicans have howled at the moon about lowering the federal deficit, but when they were in the majority, they blew a $2 trillion hole in our deficit in order to pay for their gargantuan tax cuts to big corporations and the ultra-rich.

Democrats’ proposal will actually lower the deficit significantly, which will go a long way to easing inflation.

If Republicans’ really care about fighting inflation, if they really care about lowering the deficit as they’ve claimed for years, they should support our proposal which would lower the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars.

Now at the end of the day, the American people want us to do a few commonsense things: lower the costs of their daily expenses like health care, protect our planet for future generations, make sure everyone plays by the same rules and has a fair shot at achieving the American dream and that’s what the Inflation Reduction Act will do.

These are not easy matters, but we didn’t come here to do easy things. To be sure, the work is not done. There is a lot we have to do in the coming days.

But I am proud that right now we have a strong, bold package to move on, one that will lower inflation, fight the climate crisis, and help preserve America’s place as a nation of immense opportunity deep into the 21st century.

Let us get to work and pass the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.