What’s in the Inflation Reduction Act?

President Biden signed the landmark bill Tuesday. Here’s everything you need to know.

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President Biden finally got his big legislative win.

After months of wrangling, deal-making, and pork-trading, the Senate narrowly passed the sweeping Inflation Reduction Act last week.

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The House followed suit a few days later.

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Biden signed the bill into law Tuesday.

The Inflation Reduction Act is one of the most significant social packages in the country’s history, including historic spending on climate change initiatives as well as several wins for health care equity.

Here’s what’s in it.

$740 billion

The total spending in the bill.

USA Today

The biggest part of the bill goes toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Among the key environmental provisions in the bill are various financial incentives for Americans to modify their homes with clean-energy infrastructure, like solar panels and electric HVAC systems. It also earmarks tens of billions of dollars to “support energy reliability and cleaner energy production” and sets aside billions specifically to address environmental inequalities in both disadvantaged as well as rural communities.

Overall, it offers “historic investments in American clean energy manufacturing,” per a rundown of the bill provided by Senate Democrats.

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$369 billion

The total amount of climate spending in the bill.

Senate Democrats

Another major part of the bill’s climate strategy is incentivizing the purchase of electric vehicles.

It calls for up to $7,500 in tax credits for the purchase of a new electric vehicle, and $4,000 for a used EV.

The transportation sector is the worst polluters in the U.S., per the EPA, accounting for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions alone in 2020. Cutting down on car and truck emissions would be significant.

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This bill will kickstart the era of affordable clean energy in America. ... It’s a game-changer, it’s a turning point, and it’s been a long time in coming.

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The bill also makes significant progress toward lowering health care costs, thanks to a $64 billion investment in expanding the Affordable Care Act.

Per the White House, the law will also result in 3 million more Americans having health insurance than would have otherwise.

It also allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers, which could lower prescription drug costs for up to 7 million Americans.

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$35

The maximum allowed cost for a month's supply of insulin for Medicare beneficiaries under the new law.

The White House

But But But But But But But But
what what what what what what what what
about about about about about about about about
inflation? inflation? inflation? inflation? inflation? inflation? inflation? inflation?

Okay, elephant in the room. The bill is called the Inflation Reduction Act.

So what about the inflation part of it?

The White House claims that reducing energy and health care costs will help tamp down inflation.

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Democrats also say that the bill will significantly reduce the national deficit — by more than $300 billion, per an estimate released by the Senate.

This will happen via revenue-raising efforts, including a 15% minimum tax on corporate profits and a more than $100 billion investment in the IRS to boost tax enforcement.

Shai Akbas, the director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told NPR that cutting into the deficit should help with inflation by reducing how much money is circulating in the economy. Less cash waiting to be spent typically translates to less demand, which makes price hikes less likely.

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It will generally work in the right direction and help the Federal Reserve, which has the primary responsibility for getting a hold of inflation.

Still, given the bulk of the bill is centered on climate spending and health care wins, some have called out the name as deceptive marketing. Several nonpartisan analyses have questioned whether the bill will really meaningfully affect inflation.

Isn’t it almost Orwellian? How can you call it the Inflation Reduction Act when the nonpartisan experts say it’s not going to bring inflation down?

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Biden’s signing of the Inflation Reduction Act caps a strong spring and summer for the Democrats.

The IRA follows the passage of the bipartisan CHIPS Act, which allotted money to boost the U.S. semiconductor industry, and the bipartisan PACT Act, which expanded health care benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits.

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