Government and Politics
August 10, 2022
JUST BACK FROM DC, SCHUMER OUTLINES HISTORIC PASSAGE OF INFLATION REDUCTION ACT & ITS IMPACT ON UPSTATE NEW YORK; FROM REDUCING RX COSTS FOR OVER 3.7M NY-ERS, LOWERING UTILITY BILLS, CLOSING TAX LOOPHOLES FOR BIG CORPS, FIGHTING CLIMATE CRISIS, CREATING NEW JOBS, REBUILDING AMERICAN MANUFACTURING, & MORE
Schumer Led To Passage The Largest Investment Ever To Tackle Climate Crisis, Lower Costs For Prescription Drugs, Reduce Inflation & The Deficit & More
Schumer Says Over 3.7 Million New Yorkers On Medicare Will Now Have Their Healthcare Made More Affordable; Climate Investments Alone Are Estimated To Create 9 Million New Jobs Across America And Will Bring Manufacturing Back To U.S., With Upstate New York Primed To See New Investment And Jobs
Schumer: Upstate New York Will Reap The Benefits Of Inflation Reduction Act In So Many Ways
Just back from Washington, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer outlined the historic passage of the Inflation Reduction Act that will deliver the largest investment in fighting the climate crisis, while lowering prescription drug costs and utility bills, and fighting inflation, amongst so much more. Schumer broke down how this historic deal will touch every corner of New York, helping to lower costs for families who need it most, creating thousands of new clean energy jobs, including by bringing manufacturing back to America, all while reducing the deficit by $300 billion.
Schumer said this bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity with Upstate New York primed to reap the rewards with thousands of new, good paying manufacturing and clean energy jobs powering the future of American energy independence, other investments in fighting the climate crisis, and lower healthcare costs for over 3.7 million seniors in New York on Medicare.
“It has been a long, tough and winding road, New York, and I am back from DC to tell you: at last we have arrived. After more than a year of hard work—the Senate made history and I am confident the Inflation Reduction Act will endure as one of the defining legislative feats of the twenty-first century: our bill reduces inflation, lowers costs, creates millions of good-paying jobs, and is the boldest climate package in US history—and New York State and New Yorkers are primed to reap the harvest of these investments and costs savings,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.
“This bill will kick-start an era of affordable, American-made clean energy for New York and the country. It is a game-changer. It is a turning point. And it has been a long time coming. To Americans who’ve lost faith that Congress can do big things, this bill was for you. To New York’s seniors who’ve faced the indignity of rationing medications or skipping them altogether, this bill was for you. And to the tens-of-millions of young Americans and New Yorkers who have spent years marching, rallying, demanding that Congress act on climate change, this bill was for you,” Schumer added.
“The Inflation Reduction Act was written with the people of New York always at front of mind. It will help our seniors afford their medication, it will lower costs for working families, it will create millions of good-paying jobs producing American-made clean energy, it will clean up our environment, and close tax loopholes that have titled the scale against working people and small businesses,” Schumer said.
Specifically, Schumer highlighted that the bill includes:
Lowering The Cost Of Healthcare
Schumer explained that no one should have to worry about whether they can afford the medicine they need to live and now by finally holding drug companies accountable and empowering Medicare, the federal government will bring down costs for over 3.7 million New Yorkers and generate enormous savings for taxpayers. These provisions include:
-Empowering Medicare to begin negotiating directly for the price of prescription drugs, directly lowering what people pay for those drugs, including for conditions like cancer, COPD, asthma, diabetes, atrial fibrillation and rheumatoid arthritis. Schumer explained that currently, our drug pricing system heavily favors corporations, by allowing drug companies and middlemen to put profit over patients. The new negotiation policy that just passed within this bill will ensure that the over 3.7 million New Yorkers on Medicare get the best deal possible on high-priced drugs and pay cost-sharing for those drugs based on the Medicare negotiated price.
-Cap Medicare patients’ out of pocket costs at $2,000 per year, protecting nearly 75,000 New Yorkers every single year from exorbitant drug costs if they get a major diagnosis, like cancer, for the drugs they need to live.
-Ensures that Medicare patients pay no more than $35 per month for insulin. One in every three Medicare beneficiaries has diabetes, and over 3.3 million Medicare beneficiaries use one or more of the common forms of insulin.
-Requires drug companies to rebate back to Medicare any price increases greater than inflation. Schumer said that the pharmaceutical industry should not be be able to arbitrarily increase prices on lifesaving drugs that’s costs are not changing year-to-year. Now drug companies will be required to rebate back the difference to Medicare if they raise prices higher than inflation.
-Expands premium and co-pay assistance on prescription drugs for low-income individuals. Currently, the low-income subsidy program (LIS) under Medicare Part D is fully available to all seniors earning less than 135% of the federal poverty level, and partially available to seniors earning less than 150% of the federal policy level. The bill eliminates the partial subsidy status, giving those seniors the full low-income subsidy under Medicare Part D.
-Puts more financial responsibility on insurance and drug companies to keep prices down. Patients are paying exorbitantly high prices while insurers and manufacturers rake in huge profits and negotiate secret discounts and agreements. Experts agree that the current Medicare Part D framework lets both insurers and drug companies off the hook for high drug prices – in fact, the system incentivizes higher drug prices by allowing insurers to pay less when drug prices go up. The bill changes that dynamic by incentivizing both manufacturers and insurers to keep drug prices down – it puts them on the hook for higher drug prices and spending to tamp down artificially high prices jointly set by big pharma and pharmacy benefit managers.
-Free vaccines for seniors. Seniors are the only population for which vaccines were not already free and this bill finally corrects this by making all vaccines free in Medicare.
-Stabilizes Part D premiums for seniors in Medicare by holding annual premium growth to existing levels so that insurers and manufacturers can’t pass their new financial responsibilities on to seniors.
-Extends higher premium assistance for tens of thousands of lower and middle class NY families.
Investing In Clean Energy, Transportation, Buildings, and Manufacturing Jobs To Fight The Climate Crisis
Schumer said the roughly $370 billion in climate investments across the Inflation Reduction Act represents the largest ever federal investment in clean energy, transportation, buildings, and manufacturing and is a game-changer to fight climate change and kick off a new era of lower household bills for every New Yorker and American manufacturing and energy production. The bill is estimated to create 9 million jobs across the country, and will bring manufacturing of clean technology like solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and much more back to America, with places like Upstate New York primed for new investment and jobs. These provisions include:
-Over $160 billion in estimated value for new and expanded clean electricity tax credits will incentivize the transition to a cleaner power supply, driven by wind, solar, and batteries, deploying gigawatts of clean power across New York. This is further bolstered by about $25 billion in loans, grants, and other forms of financial assistance to build a cleaner grid and power sector across the country.
-An estimated $43 billion in production tax credits to accelerate U.S. manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, clean hydrogen, and critical minerals processing. Plus, $10 billion in investment tax credits to build clean technology manufacturing facilities, like facilities that make electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels. Schumer said that these tax credits will spur growth of companies in every corner of New York from battery and energy-storage in the Hudson Valley, auto manufacturing in Western New York, to emerging solar and battery companies in the Southern Tier, and one of the nation’s first offshore wind tower manufacturing hub in the Capital Region. Green hydrogen companies in the North Country; and Plug Power in the Finger Lakes, Western New York’s STAMP, and the Capital Region, and much more. Additional Industrial emissions reduction investments will benefit companies like Alcoa in Massena and tax credits for low carbon fuels, hydrogen production, and clean commercial vehicles can drive expansion of manufacturing like Cummins’ Jamestown facility.
-Billions in loans and grants to build new clean vehicle manufacturing facilities and retool existing auto manufacturing facilities to manufacture clean vehicles across the country, including possibly in places like Western New York.
-More than $8 billion for clean fuel production, from biofuels to sustainable aviation fuel.
-Over $40 billion in tax credits to clean up America’s buildings – from commercial high-rises to residential homes and multifamily houses. This is driven even further with more than $10 billion in grants, loans, and other forms of financial assistance to build cleaner buildings and cleanup the buildings we already have.
-$2 billion for National Labs to accelerate breakthrough energy research. This funding will directly help New York entities like the Brookhaven National Lab to continue its groundbreaking research for the Department of Energy, and will keep major projects like the construction of the multi-billion dollar Electron Ion Collider on schedule, maintaining hundreds of jobs on Long Island.
Saving New Yorker’s Money On Energy Costs, Like Appliances, Electricity, RX costs & More
On top of historic investment in clean energy production and manufacturing, Schumer said the bill also includes major cost-saving benefits for families with home energy rebates and consumer tax credits to make energy saving upgrades from rooftop solar, to heat pumps, to electric vehicles, more affordable and accessible, lowering energy costs and making our communities cleaner: a true win-win. These provisions include:
-Two new clean vehicle tax credits – one for new vehicles and one for used – will bring down the upfront cost of clean vehicles, allowing more New Yorkers to save money by avoiding the pump all together, and a more targeted clean vehicle infrastructure tax credit will deploy charging and refueling stations in rural and low income communities and at home. Together, these are estimated to provide about $10 billion in benefit to Americans.
-A revamped energy efficiency tax credit will help cover the upfront cost of energy efficiency and electrification upgrades around the house, saving New Yorkers money month-after-month and year-after-year, and estimated to provide more than $12 billion in benefits.
-An expanded tax credit will bring down the cost of putting solar on your roof and a battery backup system in your house, making New Yorkers more energy independent, all while lowering our monthly bills. This is estimated to provide more than $22 billion in value.
-$9 billion in new federal funding for state-run home efficiency programs, with an emphasis on helping low- and moderate-income New Yorkers, will ensure those most sensitive to changing energy prices are better protected.
-A new $1 billion funding stream focused on bolstering resilience, and energy and water efficiency for affordable housing across New York helps those who need it most.
-$27 billion in landmark funding for Green Banks across the country, including the NY Green Bank, will deploy massive amounts of clean building technologies, distributed clean electricity, and clean vehicle infrastructure across the state, with an emphasis on disadvantaged communities.
-New York Medicare patients will no longer pay more than $35 per month for insulin
-Caps Medicare patients’ out of pocket costs at $2,000 per year, protecting nearly 75,000 New Yorkers every single year from exorbitant drug costs if they get a major diagnosis
-Finally empowers Medicare to begin negotiating directly for the price of prescription drugs, directly lowering what people pay for those drugs, including for conditions like cancer, COPD, asthma, diabetes, atrial fibrillation and rheumatoid arthritis.
-Requires drug companies to rebate back to Medicare any price increases greater than inflation
-Puts more financial responsibility on insurance and drug companies to keep prices down
-Extends higher premium assistance for tens of thousands of lower and middle class NY families
Cleaning Up New York & Protecting The Environment
In addition to investments in clean energy, the bill also includes $60 billion in environmental justice priorities to clean up New York making our air safer to breather, water cleaner, and communities more equitable and vibrant. These provisions include:
-Two new environmental justice block grants that will provide funding to reconnect communities, including $3 billion for Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants and $3 billion for Neighborhood Access and Equity Grants, to help address the disproportionate environmental and public health harms related to pollution and climate change. These investments build on the $1 billion for a new Reconnecting Communities program that Schumer secured in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and will help bring investment to redevelop communities that have been divided by highways like the community grid-I-81 project in Syracuse, the redevelopment of the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo and of the Inner Loop in Rochester, and the LINC project in New Rochelle.
-$1.5 billion investment nationwide to plant trees, establish community and urban forests, and expand green spaces in cities, which combats climate change and provides significant community benefits by increasing recreation opportunities, cooling cities, lowering electric bills, and reducing heat-related death and illness.
-$1 billion for clean buses, garbage trucks, and transit buses that can be deployed across the state, with an emphasis on deploying these vehicles in disadvantaged communities. This will also help boost New York manufacturers like Plattsburgh’s Nova Bus that makes clean electric buses.
-Reinstating the Superfund tax, so that Superfund sites across New York have a guaranteed source of funding, paid for by the companies responsible for the pollution, that raises an estimated $11 billion over the next 10 years.
-$3 billion for grants to reduce pollution at ports, like the Port of New York and New Jersey, to combat poor air quality in nearby communities, as well as targeted funding for the vehicles moving goods to and from New York’s ports.
-$2.6 billion to conserve, restore, and protect marine and coastal habitats, including funding for marine mammals and fisheries stock assessments.
Affordable Care Act
Extends higher premium assistance for tens of thousands of lower and middle class NY families
Making Billion Dollar Corporations Pay Their Fair Share
Lastly, Schumer emphasized that all these benefits to New Yorkers are fully paid for and lowers the deficit by ensuring ultra-rich and corporations that have used loopholes to avoid taxes pay their fair share. These provisions include:
-A 15% corporate minimum tax ensuring that the 200 or so large companies who strategically game the tax system to pay little or no federal corporate income taxes will be required to pay their fair share.
-A 1% tax on stock buybacks, to incentivize companies to invest in their workforce and development, rather than prioritizing shareholder stock value. This provision imposes a 1% excise tax on stock buybacks over $1 million, targeting wealthy corporations who put Wall Street above Main Street.
-Funding the Internal Revenue Service to go after tax cheats, which the IRS hasn’t had the resources to tackle for years. Now, the IRS will be able to ensure that wealthy tax dodgers won’t be able to rip off the American people any longer. The law includes a stipulation ensuring that additional tax enforcement should not be targeted at individuals earning $400,000 or less.