Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Inflation Reduction Act

August 1, 2022

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the Inflation Reduction Act, which will lower inflation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs and save lives. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

This week, the Senate will take action on a groundbreaking piece of legislation—one that we haven’t seen in decades: the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Over the coming days, both sides will continue conversations with the Parliamentarian in order to move forward with the bipartisan “Byrd Bath” process. Our timeline has not changed and I expect to bring this legislation to the Senate floor to begin voting this week.

Already, leading experts have confirmed the Inflation reduction Act lives up to its name:

  • The Committee for Responsible Federal Budget—by no means a liberal group—affirmed that “Almost every one of [this bill’s] policies, in and of itself, will fight inflation. And on net, the entire package most certainly will.” That’s the Committee for Responsible Federal Budget, who our Republican friends often quote.
  • Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers—recently the Republican Leader’s favorite economist—said “this bill is fighting inflation” and “this is disinflationary policy that's also going to make the economy more efficient.”
  • And Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s—again, hardly a liberal authority, someone who actually served as an economic advisor to Senator McCain—writes that our bill will have a “material beneficial economic impact” and said that the Inflation Reduction Act “will push inflation lower.” That’s Mark Zandi.

In short, the Inflation Reduction Act is going to be just what the doctor ordered to bringing costs down for American families. We are excited and eager to pass this bill through the Senate as soon as we can.

And, of course of huge significance – this is one of the things that makes this bill so historic: by a significant margin, our bill will also be the largest package on climate change ever, ever passed by this Congress. By our analysis this bill will cut greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 40% by 2030, that’s a lot, and independent studies corroborate this.

According to a new study by the nonpartisan Energy Innovation group, the Inflation Reduction Act could not only create at least 1.5 million new jobs by 2030, it also affirms that our bill could achieve approximately forty percent greenhouse gas reduction by the end of the decade.

Let me repeat that last part: this independent analysis says that our bill, if enacted, could cut greenhouse gas emissions by approximately forty percent! That’s the number we believe it does.

That is a very, very, very big deal.

With this bill, we are going to put the country on track to meet the climate goals we need to preserve for our planet for our children and for our grandchildren.

Now, cutting emissions is not just about protecting our planet’s health; it is also about protecting our kids’ health too.

If we slash emissions, that means cleaner air for everyone, which in turn means fewer people suffer health complications that arise from pollution.

It means less strain on our health care system.

It means that communities – poorer communities, minority communities – long exposed to harmful emissions can, quite literally, breathe easy at last.

In fact, the same study from Energy Innovation found that our bill could avoid as many as 3,900 premature deaths and 100,000 asthma attacks annually by 2030.

3,900 fewer premature deaths! 100,000 fewer asthma attacks! These are benchmarks every single one of us should aspire to, regardless of party.

Put simply, this legislation will save lives, create jobs, reduce costs, and reduce inflation.

Now, over the past few days, we’ve heard Republicans go back to their timeworn attacks that they use against virtually any Democratic policy.

They’re sounding alarms that this bill will raise taxes on American families, but it does not! Here is the plain truth: the bill will not raise any taxes – any taxes – on families making under $400,000 a year. Instead, it will close loopholes long exploited by the largest corporations that essentially give them lower tax rates than many nurses, firefighters, teachers. You won’t hear Republicans admit that. Why? Because they know that their tax policies are utterly toxic in the minds of the American people.

When you increase taxes on the wealthiest and corporations who pay nothing, they say you're raising taxes on everybody. Bull. They tried it in 2017. They went out there and said they had a massive tax reduction for the middle class. They called it a “middle class miracle,” even though they were just cutting taxes predominantly on the rich. I think it was like 70, 80%. It was a boondoggle in favor of the rich.

They promised their tax bill would unleash a tsunami of economic activity. Instead it led to record corporate stock buybacks benefitting the wealthy and nobody else.

So when Republicans talk about cutting taxes, what they really mean is cutting taxes for the richest of the rich. That's how their whole philosophy is. That's the people who seem to control lots of the Republican Party.

Our bill, meanwhile, will close tax loopholes in our tax code and not touch anyone, anyone making under $400,000 a year.

That is common sense.

At the end of the day, the American people want us to do a few straightforward things: they want us to lower the costs of daily expenses like health care and drugs, they want us to lower energy costs and protect our planet for future generations, and they want us to make sure that everyone plays by the same rules and that we close loopholes long exploited by powerful corporations.

That’s what the Inflation Reduction Act will do, and soon Democrats will take action to pass this bill and deliver on our promise to make better the lives of the American people.