Pallone Praises House Passage of the Historic Climate & Health Care Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement today praising House passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes key climate and health care provisions he originally authored or advanced through the Committee over the last couple of years:
“Today, the House took historic action to tackle the climate crisis and protect our communities from its devastating impacts. The Inflation Reduction Act is the single-largest investment in climate action in American history that will also create new clean jobs and lower energy costs for American families.
“It includes many provisions from the Energy and Commerce Committee that will drive down dangerous methane pollution, deploy low- and zero-emission technologies nationwide, and reduce energy usage through home energy efficiency upgrades. The legislation makes unparalleled investments in climate, clean energy, and environmental justice that put us on track to meet our aggressive climate goals.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is also one of the most significant pieces of health care legislation in over a decade. It breaks Big Pharma’s monopoly on prescription drug prices by finally empowering Medicare to negotiate lower prices, capping the amount seniors pay at $2,000 annually, and penalizing companies that unfairly hike prices faster than inflation by requiring them to pay a rebate to Medicare. This legislation finally levels the playing field to ensure seniors are no longer forced to choose between putting food on their table and their lifesaving prescription drugs.
“The legislation will dramatically lower the cost of monthly health insurance premiums for millions of Americans. Five million Americans have gained access to health care coverage over the last two years thanks to Democrats’ efforts to make it more affordable, and I’m pleased that this legislation will extend those efforts for three more years.
“I’m thrilled that we are finally taking aggressive action to combat the worsening climate crisis and lowering energy and health care costs for the American people. This legislation lays the foundation for a cleaner, more prosperous future for us all and I look forward to the President signing it into law soon.”
KEY CLIMATE PROVISIONS FROM THE ENERGY AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE:
The Inflation Reduction Act includes a number of key energy and environmental provisions originally authored by Pallone and other Committee members and passed out of the Committee in September 2021 following a three day markup. The provisions were then passed by the House of Representatives in November 2021. Following are some of the key provisions that passed out of the Committee.
Methane Emissions Reduction Program:
The Inflation Reduction Act establishes a Methane Emissions Reduction Program to control excess methane pollution from the oil and gas industry above specific waste emissions thresholds. The program builds on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) existing Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, recognizes the cleanest performers, holds individual companies responsible for their own leaks and excess methane pollution, drives innovation in the sector, creates good-paying jobs, and supports projects to protect American communities from the effects of the climate crisis.
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund:
The Inflation Reduction Act invests $27 billion in nonprofit, state, and local climate finance institutions that support the rapid deployment of low- and zero-emission technologies, including solar and other distributed resources. These financing entities will build on the successful track record of similar programs across the United States, leveraging public and private investment to help communities reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of air pollution. At least 40 percent of investments will be made in low-income and disadvantaged communities.
Investing in Clean Energy Innovation and Communities:
The Inflation Reduction Act invests more than $15 billion in multiple loan and grant programs at the Department of Energy (DOE) to support the development of innovative technologies and American manufacturing of zero emission transportation technologies. The legislation also provides the Secretary of Energy with the resources to enable more than $300 billion in investments in American energy, Tribal, and other communities, all while reducing electricity ratepayer costs.
Climate Pollution Reduction Grants:
The Inflation Reduction Act invests $5 billion through EPA for states, municipalities, and Indian Tribes to develop and implement plans to reduce climate pollution. The legislation provides $250 million to develop plans and directs the Agency to make planning grants to at least one recipient in each state. EPA will then competitively award $4.75 billion to implement the plans to reduce climate pollution.
The Inflation Reduction Act invests almost $2.9 billion into creating a 21st Century energy grid capable of ensuring the reliable delivery of clean energy throughout the United States. The legislation funds grants to assist states with siting transmission projects, funds DOE’s transmission planning and modeling capabilities, and will support approximately $20 billion in loans for constructing high priority transmission lines and grid infrastructure. These measures will reduce consumer costs, maintain the reliable delivery of electricity during extreme weather events, and are necessary to address the climate crisis.
Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicles:
The Inflation Reduction Act invests $1 billion in replacing certain heavy-duty vehicles, such as refuse trucks and school buses, with zero emission vehicles through a new grant program at the EPA. In addition to funding new clean vehicles, this program will provide funds for associated infrastructure and workforce development and training.
Appliance and Building Efficiency Rebates:
The Inflation Reduction Act invests $9 billion in home energy efficiency and appliance electrification rebates and ensures that low-income and underserved communities have access to these energy-saving upgrades. Buildings account for some 30 percent of greenhouse gas pollution in the United States. Reducing energy usage and electrifying appliances is crucial to tackling the climate crisis.
Industrial Emissions Reductions:
The Inflation Reduction Act invests $5.8 billion for installing and implementing advanced industrial technology at energy intensive industrial and manufacturing facilities. These critical investments in the hard to decarbonize industrial sector will drive large emissions reductions, while protecting jobs, competitiveness, and demonstrating the global leadership of U.S. industries.
Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants:
The Inflation Reduction Act invests $3 billion to community-led projects that address environmental and public health harms related to pollution and climate change. This grant program provides direct funding to the communities most impacted by climate change and environmental injustice, funding local projects and solutions to decrease pollution and increase climate readiness.
The Inflation Reduction Act invests $3 billion to reduce air pollution at ports and in the communities that surround them. Ports are vital economic lifelines in the United States, but also significant sources of pollution that contribute to climate change and threaten public health. These grants will support the purchase and installation of zero-emission equipment and technology, as well as the development of climate action plans, at ports. At least 25 percent of investments will be made at ports in nonattainment areas.
KEY HEALTH CARE PROVISIONS ORIGINALLY AUTHORED BY PALLONE & OTHER HEALTH COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN:
The Inflation Reduction Act includes a number of key provisions that were originally authored and introduced by Pallone and other health leaders in the House before being passed in the House of Representatives last November.
Lowering Prescription Drug Costs for Americans:
The Inflation Reduction Act will rein in the soaring cost of prescription drugs and cap out-of-pocket costs for millions of seniors. Many of the key provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act to lower prescription drugs costs were first proposed by Pallone, Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), and Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) in H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now, which was introduced in September 2019. The comprehensive bill empowered Medicare to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs and imposed an inflation rebate on pharmaceutical manufacturers that unfairly raised prices on consumers. H.R. 3 also capped seniors’ out-of-pocket costs on Medicare Part D prescription drugs at $2,000 annually. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3 in December 2019, but the Senate did not act on the bill.
Expanding Affordable Care Act (ACA) & Lowering Health Care Costs:
The Inflation Reduction Act also makes health care more affordable for millions of Americans by extending through 2025 ACA affordability assistance first included in the American Rescue Plan last year. The landmark law provided financial assistance for more people by enhancing ACA Marketplace premium subsidies for lower-income and middle-income Americans for 2021 and 2022, including those with incomes above 400 percent of the federal poverty line. This ACA provision was first introduced by Chairmen Pallone, Neal, and Scott in March 2018.