With one stroke of his pen, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and that’s sure to bring a round of hallelujahs from millions of Americans, particularly the elderly reeling from the cost of health care and those dependent on Medicare.
It took a year of wrangling with certain elected officials, most notably Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, to finally with a few concessions get the bill through Congress and into Biden’s eager hands.
“This is finally delivering on a promise made to the American people decades ago,” Biden said on Tuesday.
Biden has secured the centerpiece of his agenda and the law is in place now with nearly $370 million to combat climate change and global warming. This will be managed through tax rebates and credits for renewable energy as well as energy-efficient technology, and electrically powered cars. Included in the law is punishment for fossil fuel companies for their excess usage of methane emissions. Communities vulnerable to climate change will be protected by finding climate resilience and pollution monitoring devices and projects.
But this law does not come without some grave concerns about the concessions made to the fossil fuel industry, most egregiously the drilling and pipeline deals that will certainly harm areas throughout the nation, particularly in Alaska and the Gulf Coast. According to several experts, the deal could not have been done without ceding the bulk of the funds to the corporations.
Even so, the IRA seems to be a good bargain and a benefit for the environment.
As for what it will mean for lowering the cost of prescription drugs, there is no complaint from Americans on Medicare. For the first time in the nation’s history, the government will negotiate rates on the cost of drugs and punish Big Pharma that fail to follow the rules.
The law was a sealed deal after it passed the Senate on Sunday, strictly along party lines as expected, with Vice President Harris casting the deciding 51-50 vote. It’s not exactly what Biden dreamed of with his Build Back Better plan but, as they say on the block, it beats a naught.