In response to Senate passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, Gina Cummings, Vice President of Advocacy, Alliances & Policy for Oxfam America, made the following statement:
“We are pleased to see the Senate finally take much needed action on climate change, taxes, and healthcare, and we especially praise historic investments to combat climate change. While this legislation is far from perfect, as it makes damaging concessions at the behest of the fossil fuel industry and ignores the care crisis in this country, it does show that government can move the ball forward on key issues. We join activists across the country celebrating this passage, and urge the House of Representatives to quickly pass it as well, and for President Biden to sign it into law.
“Over the past year, Congress has gone back and forth on the climate provisions of this bill, but we applaud the nearly $370 billion in historic investments in renewable clean energy that will significantly deliver toward our global climate commitments.
“Researchers estimate these investments – through tax credits for solar and wind production, grants to environmental justice communities for locally-led mitigation and adaptation measures, and funding to support middle class families afford transitions to electric vehicles and homes – will move the US from just 20-25% reduction to 40% reduction of emissions by 2030. Although this still falls short of the 50% emissions reduction goal the US has committed to as part of the Paris climate agreement, it is nevertheless a huge leap forward that retains a cleaner 1.5° C world within reach.
"While we are pleased to see this compromise bill pass, we are committed to fight the concessions that were made in order to get it passed. The investment in renewables is historic, and yet this same bill will do much to undermine efforts to curb dangerous emissions and protect communities by forcing fossil fuel lease sales. We are also deeply concerned about these concessions that will only benefit fossil fuel companies and further prioritize corporate greed over communities.
“On the health care side, the bill’s drug pricing negotiation provisions for some medicines are common sense, hugely popular with the American people, and an important step toward breaking Big Pharma’s stranglehold over our healthcare policies. We must continue to make sure our policymakers prioritize public health over Big Pharma’s profits.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, affordable and equitable access to medicines is essential in all countries. Our current system of giving giant corporations monopoly control over lifesaving medicines results in sky high profits for Big Pharma executives and investors and unaffordable drug prices for working people.
“We call on Congress to continue to deliver for people in need of healthcare by mandating stronger access and affordability safeguards on public investments in medical tools, supporting technology transfer and distributed global manufacturing for essential medicines, and providing sufficient funding to combat the current COVID pandemic and make the world more resilient for future public health crises.
“It is exciting to see Senators move to tax share buybacks and provide additional funding for the IRS to crack down on tax evasion by the rich and big corporations. These moves are very welcome and long overdue.
“This legislation raises revenue through a new ‘corporate minimum tax,’ which will decrease inequality and corporate tax avoidance, but is unfortunately not compliant with the global minimum tax agreement championed by President Biden that would put a floor under the global race to the bottom in corporate tax. The IRA also leaves aside a host of other provisions to ensure that the rich and big corporations pay their fair share of taxes. In particular, it does not include any tax targeting billionaires who get away with paying close to 0% in income tax.
“However, it is ironic and cruel that, as a bill that is meant to reduce the impact of inflation on families, this legislation includes absolutely no investments in child care, which is the single largest expense that many families across the countries face.
“The cost of child care has outpaced inflation for years, and the Inflation Reduction Act should have prioritized funding affordable, high quality child care and early learning. Without federal funding, the child care sector will continue to crumble as early educators continue to flee the industry due to low pay and families have a harder and harder time finding affordable care and education for their babies and toddlers.
“Failing to include policies that would benefit women and caregivers—like child care, paid leave, and an expanded child tax credit—in the Inflation Reduction Act hurts families that have suffered and continue to suffer through the pandemic and a period with record levels of inflation. Women were and continue to be the safety net of this country, yet their needs continue to be ignored.
"While there is more work to be done, we are overcome with gratitude to the organizers and activists who have gotten us to this point, pushing for action in this critical time for our climate, workers, and communities. Change takes time and hard work and we remain resolved to work with our allies to celebrate where we have wins and continue pushing Congress and the Biden administration to take strong action to support marginalized communities.”