Latino members of Congress react to Senate passing the Inflation Reduction Act
The package approved Sunday, Aug. 8, was passed on a final vote of 51-50, with VP Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
In what has been a rather woeful year for Democrats all around, Sunday, Aug. 8, was a day of victory for Democrats, President Joe Biden, and his administration, as Senate Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act.
The $750 billion package focuses on health care, climate, and taxes. The Democrat-controlled House will now take on the bill on Friday, Aug. 12, and will have to approve before it reaches Biden’s desk.
The party line vote was 51-50, with Vice President Harris’ vote being the decider. After months of tense negotiations and undermining from Republicans, the passage gives Democrats a huge opportunity to achieve major policy objectives ahead of the contested and high-stakes November midterms.
While some Latino members of Congress played bigger roles than others in the bill’s negotiations, most responded with statements in the immediate aftermath of its passage.
Here’s a selection:
California Rep. Pete Aguilar responded to the huge victory on Twitter, looking forward to the House’s own vote at the end of this week.
“The Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act to lower costs & prescription drug prices for families and combat climate change. I look forward to getting this done in the House!” he wrote.
While not as zealous as President Biden’s original package that he tried to push late last year — the 10-year $3.5 trillion package that included help for social and environmental issues — the one passed is still rooted in party focuses, such as slowing global warming, cutting pharmaceutical costs, and now taxing huge corporations.
The bill is still the biggest climate change investment in U.S. history. Additionally, the changes it will have on health policy now gives power to Medicare to directly negotiate certain drug prices as well as expanding on expiring health care subsidies for over three years.
“Democrats just delivered a MAJOR victory for the American people — we just passed historic legislation to confront the climate crisis, lower prescription drug prices, & tackle inflation… despite EVERY SINGLE Republican voting against it,” tweeted Senator Alex Padilla on Sunday.
Corporations will also see a minimum 15% tax as well as a 1% tax on buybacks. Furthermore, the Internal Revenue Service's power to collect increases as a result. According to the bill, it will increase the government’s revenue over the next 10 years by over $700 billion. On the climate change fight, it will allow them to spend over $430 billion towards reducing carbon emissions.
“Today, I voted to pass the Inflation Reduction Act. This is a major victory for hardworking Nevadans that will lower prescription drug and health care costs, fight inflation, cut the deficit, combat drought, and create clean-energy jobs in Nevada,” wrote Sen. Catherine Cortez Mastro from Nevada on Twitter.
After a Summer that has seen record temperatures and numerous heat waves not just nationally but across the globe, the bill is the biggest victory for climate change since the historic Clean Air Act almost half a century ago. According to analysis, the bill hopes to reduce carbon emissions by over 40% by 2030, close to Biden’s want of 50%. Along with that, the bill also includes tax incentives that are supposed to bring the cost of electricity down by using more renewable energy in hopes of getting the American people to use electricity for their cars and homes.
“This legislation will be the most transformative action that Congress has ever taken to tackle the climate crisis. Passing this bill is only the beginning — I will work hard, alongside my colleagues, and President Biden and his administration, to ensure these programs are successful, and that they align with New Mexico’s challenges and opportunities,” wrote New Mexico Senator Ben Ray Luján on Twitter. “Together we will build a clean energy future in America, protect our air, water, and lands, reduce harmful emissions, and revitalize communities across the country.”
As for the healthcare side, the legislation if passed by the House would bring down out-of-pocket costs for senior citizens on Medicare. Expiring subsidies will be extended for three years and help over 13 million Americans to afford health insurance. Whether it is prescriptions drugs from doctors themselves or pharmacies, the bill gives power to Medicare to decide on the prices. The HHS Secretary will negotiate 10 drugs in 2026, and 15 the following year in hopes of it reaching 20 drugs by 2029 and moving forward.
In his own statement released after the Senate’s passage, Senator Bob Menendez highlighted the importance of the bill for many overlooked middle-class families as the economic gap widens further.
“Today, Democrats proved yet again we can deliver results for the American people, from our seniors to our small business owners to everyone in between. I will continue working to find a path forward for repealing the SALT cap for hard-working middle-class families and building a more humane and inclusive immigration system for all. My Democratic colleagues and I will never stop working to deliver real substantive solutions to address the most pressing challenges facing our nation,” he said.