CHN urges Senate to pass Inflation Reduction Act of 2022


August 7, 2022

Editor’s note: The Coalition on Human Needs on August 6, 2022 sent a letter to all 100 U.S. Senators urging a yes vote on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The text of the letter, which was signed by CHN Executive Director Deborah Weinstein, is below. You can download a PDF of the letter here.

 August 6, 2022 

Dear Senator: 

The Coalition on Human Needs supports enactment of The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, H.R. 5376.  Our member organizations, including human service providers, faith organizations, labor, civil rights, policy experts and other advocates of meeting the needs of people with low incomes, understand that this bill will prevent millions of people from seeing their health insurance premiums rise or become uninsured. It will take important steps towards combating climate change and helping people to shift to cheaper, environmentally sound energy sources. It will reduce the cost of prescription drugs.  And it will make a start towards requiring multi-billion-dollar corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes. 

We know very well that this legislation omits provisions we have strongly endorsed and that low- and moderate-income Americans badly need.  The Child Tax Credit lifted millions of children out of poverty when its expanded version was in effect through December, only to see them returned to poverty after the credit expired. Families need help with child care; rent is increasingly unaffordable; the aging and people with disabilities need home care. Over 2 million people living in poverty and uninsured need health coverage, but are denied it in states that refuse to expand Medicaid. This bill does not make progress in these areas.  Our disappointment is deep; our commitment to continue the fight for these vital investments is unflagging.  

But we cannot lose the progress that is in the Inflation Reduction Act. That is why we respectfully urge your YES vote.  

During the consideration of amendments, you will have the opportunity to improve this bill.  We cannot know now which amendments will reach the floor. Senator Sanders has introduced amendments including extending the expanded Child Tax Credit (#5208). Senator Warnock has introduced an amendment to provide health coverage for those uninsured poor people now denied care in states that have refused to expand their Medicaid programs (#5262).  Senator Merkley has offered an amendment to extend the Summer EBT nutrition program for children (#5292). These amendments deserve your YES vote. 

We further urge you to reject amendments that are intended to undermine the bill and to set our nation backwards.  While we cannot know at this point the full list of amendments to be introduced, we strongly urge you to vote NO on poison pill amendments that would 

  • Demonize immigrants, deny them lawful access to the U.S. asylum system, reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols (“remain in Mexico” program), increase USCIS enforcement, and/or continue the application of Title 42 to exclude immigrants (such as Lankford #5384) and/or separate families; 
  • Add tax breaks for corporations and/or wealthy individuals, including tax breaks for research and development; 
  • Reduce IRS funds for enforcing tax laws and improving services for taxpayers; 
  • Reduce the ACA premium tax credits in the bill; 
  • Rescind unobligated COVID funds; 
  • Delete climate/environmental justice provisions in the bill. 

The Inflation Reduction Act will save money in health care costs for millions of people.  It protects people from life-threatening climate/environmental hazards, and targets some of those protections to people with low incomes, disproportionately communities of color. It will create jobs and save people money in energy costs.  Drug companies and billion-dollar corporations will pay more of their fair share.  These are important steps forward.  Please vote YES.