As Congressmember Salud Carbajal waited to go to Capitol Hill to vote on the Inflation Reduction Act, he took a few minutes to speak with the Independent about the bill, which passed the House of Representatives on Friday afternoon.
The Inflation Reduction Act will raise $737 billion from taxes and prescription drug cost savings and spend $437 billion on climate change and energy measures, health-care subsidies, and drought resiliency for western states. The $300 billion that remains would go to the U.S. Treasury toward deficit reduction. Carbajal was clearly pleased with the bill:
Today’s a good day for Democrats on the Hill?
When I first ran for Congress, in all the stories and interviews, I said we needed to address climate change and pass that important legislation. I said we have to invest in renewable energy and bring down the cost of health-care premiums. I said we need to negotiate prescription drug prices for everyone. I said I was going to do these things. Promises made. Promises kept.
How can representatives and senators from northern states who see their glaciers melting not vote for this?
This is why Congress has the reputation it does. As the end of the day, some people, instead of moving forward with good policy, they get into gridlock partisan politics. Even on the Climate Solutions Caucus, a number of Republicans on that caucus are not going to vote for this bill because of the partisanship and ideological games in Washington, D.C. In this reconciliation bill, that’s on them. They think it’s easier to say “no” instead of doing the hard work of compromise.
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Well, speaking of compromise, Joe Manchin got offshore drilling into the deal as well as his natural gas pipeline.
There will be no drilling off of California.
Right, the leases are in the Gulf of Mexico and off the East Coast.
We wanted more things in the bill, but I can’t stress how much of a historic and transformative legislation this is. There’s unprecedented investment in climate change, tax credits for home energy upgrades that can save nearly $2,000 on utility bills. This continues tax credits to manufacture and purchase electric vehicles. And it makes health-care affordable for 13 million people.
Basically, there are no new taxes on anybody making less than $400,000 a year. This legislation is completely paid for, and our bill is financially neutral. My colleagues on the other side of the aisle, when they move forward tax reform programs, they are usually not paid for. They’re very selective about when they want to be fiscally conservative — only when they’re in charge.
Top economists, including Nobel Prize winners and former Republican treasury secretaries, say this will reduce inflation in more ways than one. We had zero inflation in July! And President Biden has reduced the deficit by $1.5 trillion to date.
This legislation is not only a jobs bill, climate bill, and budget deficit bill. It fulfills promises made. For me, I have two grandkids. This isn’t just about stopping the warming of the planet. It’s about leaving this world for future generations a better place — for my children and my children’s children.
To reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2030, that’s a big f’ing deal.