The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will send hundreds of billions of dollars into efforts ranging from tackling climate change to cutting the deficit to changing the way big corporations pay their taxes .
But you wouldn’t know that from listening to Democratic and Republican lawmakers in recent weeks.
Both parties are ready to head home for the final campaign sprint ahead of the November election – and both parties are rolling out the sprawling legislation as a key talking point. Democrats seem set to focus on how the law aims to lower prescription drug costs. Meanwhile, Republicans are ready to attack another part of the 730-page bill: increased funding for the Internal Revenue Service.
The dueling events between lawmakers on Thursday morning highlighted the stark contrast.
“On day one, our very first bill, we will repeal all 87,000 IRS agents because your government should be there to help you, not prosecute you,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday morningreferring to Republican pressure to repeal the IRA if they take control of Congress next year.
Meanwhile, Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee of Congress released an analysis largely focused on how a repeal of the IRA could drive up drug prices and health care costs. The new law includes a host of health care reforms, such as allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and also an expansion of health insurance subsidies first implemented by Obamacare.
“Put simply, Republicans are making a commitment to America to raise costs for families,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), the committee’s chairman, told reporters. He added that the GOP plan, “beyond repealing the Inflation Reduction Act, has almost no political details.”
President Biden also spoke at length about health care costs, including during a speech on Tuesday touting the law’s provisions and attacking Republicans for opposing them.
The shared focus among lawmakers reflects a split in polls around the IRA, with the drug pricing provisions consistently among the most popular parts of the law and increased IRS funding the item. the least popular.
Lawmakers are adding $80 billion to the IRS budget, which is expected to bring in more than $200 billion in additional tax revenue. The provision has led some Republicans to argue that a flood of new IRS agents are going after hard-working Americans. The agency itself pushed back, saying it planned to target tax evaders, not ordinary Americans.
Of course, some Americans applauded other aspects of the bill, including the climate change provisions. On Thursday, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis held a hearing to draw attention to climate issues in the bill.
“We’re going to talk today about how the Cut Inflation Act will help families lower their electric and fuel bills, create jobs, and expand investment in American industry,” committee chair Kathy Castor (D-FL) said Thursday. start this audience.
“I would believe them when they make these kinds of threats”
But in campaign speeches, drug prices and the IRS emerged as the central issues on the campaign trail, with other provisions of the law often completely ignored.
During Tuesday’s GOP event for example, House Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) pledged that Republicans “will bring energy policy that promotes American energy after seeing a year and a half of attacks on American energy.” The IRA was shaped by fossil fuel-friendly Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and contained many provisions that oil producers would love.
Similarly, as Republicans rallied on the Capitol steps Thursday, they did not discuss a possible repeal of the prescription drug provisions. However, Drew Hammill, spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi, noted that Republicans “would skyrocket prescription drug costs” if they took office.
Republicans have indeed discussed repealing some of the prescription drug provisions. In the recent “Commitment to America,” GOP leaders say “Democrats’ drug takeover agenda could result in 135 fewer life-saving treatments and cures.”
Democrats, who see the drug provisions as wildly popular and a clear political winner, seem ready to remind voters of them at every chance.
“I would believe them when they make these kinds of threats,” Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) told reporters Thursday. “I believe Kevin McCarthy and I believe the Republicans would actually do that.”
Ben Werschkul is a Washington correspondent for Yahoo Finance.
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