08.16.23

Whitehouse Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of Inflation Reduction Act

Inflation Reduction Act passed without a single Republican vote in Congress

Barrington, RI – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today celebrated the one year anniversary of President Joe Biden signing the Inflation Reduction Act into law with dozens of seniors at the Barrington Senior Center.  Whitehouse highlighted the major savings for people on Medicare along with the consumer-facing clean energy incentives and tax fairness improvements included in the law, which passed without a single Republican vote in Congress.

“Democrats’ historic Inflation Reduction Act has already proven transformational in the year since President Biden signed the legislation.  From finally breaking the grip of Big Pharma and reducing health care costs for seniors, to investing in the clean energy of the future, to cracking down on tax evasion by billionaires and big corporations, the Inflation Reduction Act has spurred economic growth while saving Rhode Islanders’ money on their everyday expenses.  While there’s still much more to do to lead the planet to safety, the law’s focus on fighting climate change was the biggest step we’ve ever taken to lower our emissions,” said Whitehouse.  “I was proud to have helped shape many of the Inflation Reduction Act’s key provisions, like the methane fee and the clean energy incentives.  I’m keeping an eye on the Biden administration’s implementation of all of these programs to ensure every Rhode Island family and business can take full advantage of the Inflation Reduction Act’s provisions.”

Over the last year, the Inflation Reduction Act has delivered for families in Rhode Island and across America in the following ways.

Health Care Savings

Rising health care costs and runaway prices for common prescription drugs like insulin have burdened Rhode Islanders for years, and the Inflation Reduction Act took significant action to lower those costs for seniors, especially for people on Medicare and living on fixed incomes. 

The legislation puts a $35 per month cap on insulin for seniors on Medicare Part D, caps annual Part D out of pocket costs at $2,000, limits Part D premium increases so costs can’t be shifted onto patients, and expands Part D premium and copay assistance in the Low Income Subsidy program.  The law also makes certain vaccines – including shingles and pneumonia – free for seniors and prohibits drugmakers from raising drug prices faster than inflation.  The Inflation Reduction Act also finally allows Medicare to negotiate the price of the most expensive prescription drugs in the Part B and Part D programs.

In 2024, the law’s changes to Medicare’s prescription drug benefit are expected to save the approximately 57,000 Medicare Part D enrollees in Rhode Island a total of over $11 million.  By 2025, those changes are expected to save nearly Rhode Island’s 68,000 Medicare Part D enrollees over $23 million. 

Consumer Energy Savings

Families looking to lower their utility bills while taking part in the clean energy transition will find ample opportunities to save money authorized by the Inflation Reduction Act.  Starting in 2023, homeowners can receive up to 30 percent back through tax credits for making energy efficiency improvements to their home – generally up to a maximum of $1,200 per year but potentially up to $3,200 if improvements include heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, or biomass stoves.  The law also authorizes Rhode Islanders to receive a tax credit of 30 percent of the cost of property for rooftop solar and other residential clean energy systems installed on their homes.  In addition, the Inflation Reduction Act offers a Clean Vehicle Tax Credit of up to $7,500 for individuals to buy new clean vehicles and up to $4,000 to buy used clean vehicles. 

Rhode Islanders hoping to learn more about energy savings through the Inflation Reduction Act can find more information here.

Climate Action

The Inflation Reduction Act’s investment in climate action is expected to create millions of American jobs over the next decade.  The major climate provisions developed by Whitehouse or modeled after legislation he authored include a suite of clean energy programs, most notably the provision to expand the 45Q tax credit for carbon capture and the provision to incentivize the production of sustainable aviation fuel.  The law also provides expanded clean energy tax credits for utility-scale wind, solar, nuclear, and clean hydrogen, including bonus credits for businesses that pay workers a prevailing wage and use registered apprenticeship programs.  The law includes “Make it in America” provisions for the use of American-made equipment for clean energy production. 

The law also contains other major climate provisions modeled on legislation authored by Whitehouse, including grant programs inspired by the Senator’s Clean Industrial Technology Act to decarbonize emissions-heavy sectors and a methane reduction program for oil and gas facilities that grew out of Whitehouse’s methane fee proposal.  U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which had been on track to be reduced by 25 percent by 2030 (compared to 2005 levels) before the law, are now forecast to be lowered by 40 percent. 

Tax Fairness

The Inflation Reduction Act cracked down on tax evasion to ensure billionaires and wealthy corporations pay a fairer share.  The law provided billions of dollars to improve IRS efforts to crack down on wealthy tax cheats and provide better service to those who pay what they owe.  The IRS has already successfully recovered $38 million from 175 delinquent millionaires and answered three million more calls than in 2022, cutting wait times from 28 minutes to three minutes.

Whitehouse was a major backer of a key provision requiring companies with over one billion dollars in profits to pay at least a 15 percent tax rate.  The provision was a step forward in combating corporate tax dodging to help level the playing field for businesses large and small that pay full freight.  The Inflation Reduction Act also imposes a one percent annual excise tax on the value of stock repurchases by publicly traded corporations to spur them to invest in workers and the economy instead of wealthy shareholders and highly paid CEOs.

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Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921