With House passage, President Biden can sign the Inflation Reduction Act into law: Historic live-saving steps we must build upon
Editor’s note: Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs, issued the following statement Friday, August 12, 2022 in response to final passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022:
“The House has joined the Senate in voting to enact the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The steps forward taken in this legislation are historic, with unprecedented investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a long-awaited beginning for Medicare to negotiate cheaper prescription drug prices. Millions of people will be protected from drastic increases in their health insurance premiums. Medicare recipients will save money on insulin and other prescription drugs. Vaccines will be free for adults covered by federal health care programs. Multi-billion dollar corporations and wealthy taxpayers will start to pay more of their share, a modest but important step towards justice.
“It is no exaggeration to say that lives will be saved because of the Investment Reduction Act. Black Americans over 65 are three times more likely to die from inhaled air pollutants as are White seniors. Environmental hazards of all kinds are sickening and killing disproportionate numbers of poor people and people of color of all ages. This law will help them. People who cannot afford insulin or other medications for life-threatening diseases will be more protected. Because the law will prevent three million people from losing their health insurance, they will be able to get medical care when they need it.
“These are historic life-saving steps we must build upon. The member organizations of the Coalition on Human Needs, including human service providers, faith organizations, labor, civil rights, policy experts and other advocates for meeting the needs of people with low incomes, congratulate Speaker Pelosi for her strong leadership and thank the 220 House members who voted for the Inflation Reduction Act. More than 700,000 letters were sent to Congress over many months by people in our networks, joining many more who sought – and still seek – investments far beyond what Congress has now enacted.
“We remain angry that, having seen child poverty reduced by 30 percent because of the Child Tax Credit, the votes have not yet been secured to continue that historic gain, and now millions of children have fallen back into poverty. Forty-three million Americans last month were finding it very difficult to pay their usual household expenses; 25 million said that they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in the previous week, according to a Census Bureau survey. They need help now, and they need sustained investments in housing, child care, education, and home care for the aging and people with disabilities. We cannot afford to leave anyone behind – not the 2 million poor and uninsured people now denied Medicaid in a dozen states; not poor children; not people of color beset by floods, lead poisoning, and air pollution; not mothers kept out of work because there is no child care.
“The Inflation Reduction Act provides extremely important help. It will reduce hardship, improve health, and start to protect our future. But we’ve got more to do, both to make sure the law fulfills its promises, and to take up the unfinished business that we owe ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren.”