Here's what Louisiana politicians say about the Inflation Reduction Act
The U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act on Sunday, a measure that could have considerable impact in a number of areas including energy, healthcare and taxes, though Louisiana's leadership has given the legislation mixed reviews.
The act passed the Senate with a party-line vote with both of Louisiana's senators voting against the bill. The bill now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives, where it's likely to pass, though it will probably get an icy reception from most of Louisiana's delegation.
The $739-billion package tackles many of President Joe Biden's priorities, including climate change, drug prices, and aims to reduce the federal deficit.
Here are some of the items included in the act:
- Allows Medicaid to negotiate prescription drug prices
- Extends Affordable Care Act subsidies through 2025
- $10 billion in tax credits to build electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines
- $20 billion to help farmers with climate change
- $30 billion for cities and states to transition to clean electricity
- A 15% corporate minimum tax along with increased enforcement from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service
Here's what some of Louisiana's political leaders and the energy industry had to say about the package:
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy voted against the bill in the senate along with all of his Republican colleagues, though he was among a group of Republicans who joined with Democrats to try to keep a provision that capped the price of insulin at $35.
The insulin provision was ultimately struck down, but Cassidy was one of seven Republicans who supported it, as was U.S. Sen. John Kennedy. Louisiana has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the U.S., according to the United Health Foundation, with more than 14% of adults being diagnosed.
Still, Cassidy ultimately voted against the package. In a statement, Cassidy said he does not believe the act will curb inflation and will pass a tax burden on to households bringing in less than $200,000, though experts have been divided on the ultimate impacts of the act.
“This legislation does nothing to decrease inflation, but raises the tax bill falling on everyday Americans. It is another hit to a Louisiana family’s pocketbook. I proudly voted no,” Cassidy said in a statement. “It is now up to House Democrats to listen to the American families that know this legislation will only add to their economic struggles.”
U.S. Sen. John Kennedy
Kennedy, who is in the midst of a reelection campaign, had a similar approach to the legislation. He voted in favor of keeping the cap on insulin prices, but ultimately voted against the package.
In a statement, Kennedy called the act a "massive tax-and-spending bill." He also placed much of the blame on U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia who has often been the swing vote in the 50-50 senate.
Manchin has balked at massive spending bills in the past, but he and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reached a deal last week to largely guarantee the act's passage in the senate.
“Because of inflation, Louisianans are really getting good at barely getting by — and that’s true for most Americans, too," Kennedy said in a statement. "As a result of Senator Manchin’s bill — and I hope I am wrong on this — I predict that Joeflation, as some people call it, will now refer to Joe Manchin, not President Biden."
U.S. Rep. Troy Carter
The lone Democrat in Louisiana's congressional delegation, U.S. Rep. Troy Carter, tweeted Sunday that he looks forward to voting in favor of the act on the house floor.
"Today the Senate passed the biggest investment to fight climate change in U.S. history, along with other investments in healthcare, and to help lower taxes for families," Carter tweeted Sunday. "I look forward to supporting the Inflation Reduction Act in the House."
U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins
U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins released a statement alongside the House Freedom Caucus on Monday.
In his statement, Higgins claims the legislation will make inflation "much, much worse," as well as implement "oppressive new government restrictions on our freedoms." Higgins also said that the beefed-up enforcement at the IRS will "target working Americans with aggressive, targeted audits."
"I am 100% opposed to this monstrosity of a bill, and I will return to DC this week to try to stop it," Higgins said in his statement. "We will use every mechanism at our disposal to reveal the truth about this bill. I’m clarifying now to my constituents that I will cast my vote in opposition.”
The IRS commissioner, Charles Rettig, wrote in a letter to the senate that the funds to return to its historic strength in addressing "large corporate and global high-net-worth taxpayers."
Rettig said that audit rates will not rise for households making less than $400,000 a year.
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, who is the minority whip for the House Republicans, has tweeted numerous times about the Inflation Reduction Act since the deal between Schumer and Manchin was announced.
Much of his criticism of the bill centers on the potential tax burden on households bringing in less than $400,000 per year. He also said that the money going to hire more IRS agents should be spent on border control.
"Just more proof Dems always put their radical agenda over you & your family," Scalise tweeted.
U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson
U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, one of the highest-ranking Republicans in the house, has tweeted a couple of times about the Inflation Reduction Act, saying that he does not think another spending package will lower inflation.
Johnson also criticized the legislation for putting "billions of taxpayer dollars to green energy slush funds."
"No serious person could actually think that passing an ADDITIONAL $740 billion in government spending and higher taxes will help REDUCE inflation," Johnson tweeted.
U.S. Rep. Julia Letlow
U.S. Rep. Julia Letlow tweeted her opposition to the Inflation Reduction Act after the deal with Manchin was announced last week, saying it adds "more taxes and a weaponized IRS."
"The last thing struggling Americans need right now is more taxes and a weaponized IRS preying on small business owners and working families," Letlow tweeted. "The majority’s reconciliation bill will only worsen the economic pain of this recession."
The United States Conference of Mayors, a non-partisan organization that includes more than 1,400 mayors of cities with more than 30,000 residents, applauded the passage of the act in a statement.
The organization includes several Louisiana mayors, including East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory, Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter, Bossier City Mayor Thomas Chandler, Kenner Mayor Michael Glaser, Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis, Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey Hall, and Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine.
All of the Louisiana mayors in the organization may not support the measure, but the overall organization is pushing for its passage.
“With today’s vote, the Senate has begun to solve some of the biggest challenges facing American cities, including rising costs and dangerous climate change," it said in a statement.
"The Inflation Reduction Act will save Americans on their prescription drugs and other health care costs, ensure our nation’s tax system is more just, and make the largest investment the United States has ever made to fight the climate crisis. This bill is a huge win for our cities, and America’s mayors urge the House of Representatives to swiftly approve and send it to the president’s desk for his signature.”
The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association has not released a statement since the passage of the act on Sunday, but it did say it was "encouraged" by the deal struck by Manchin and Schumer.
“LMOGA welcomes the positive progress on Gulf of Mexico lease sales and the inclusion of provisions that address the energy transition, creating more operational certainty for our industry and encouraging continued investment in low carbon solutions, such as carbon capture and sequestration," LMOGA President Tommy Faucheux said.
Faucheux said that the energy and climate provisions were reassuring, but said that the organization was still cautious about the impact tax policies could have on long-term investments.
“Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico are uniquely positioned to provide affordable, reliable, secure energy to meet American needs, while simultaneously reducing our carbon footprint," he said in a statement. "Our industry stands ready to work together with all parties towards common sense policies that support our climate goals and domestic energy production.”
The National Ocean Industries Association released a statement after the Senate's passage that indicated its support for the act. The organization is not based in Louisiana, but it has a hand in advancing the offshore energy industry, including in the Gulf of Mexico.
“We extend our thanks to Senator Manchin for his leadership in securing an all-of-the-above energy package that boosts offshore oil and gas, offshore wind, and carbon capture and storage — all key priorities for the offshore sector and for long-term American energy security," NOIA President Erik Milito said in a statement. "No legislation is perfect, and the Inflation Reduction Act certainly reflects compromises, but American offshore energy is an issue of national – and global – consequence.”