WASHINGTON, D.C.–People’s Action celebrated the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act today by the U.S. Senate, highlighting the historic investment in climate change mitigation, as well as provisions that would force rich corporations to pay more of their fair share in taxes and allow Medicare to fight price gouging by drug companies.
“These investments are another step forward won by the organizers and grassroots leaders who demanded leadership that answers to people, not corporations,” People’s Action Executive Director Sulma Arias said. “Lowering carbon emissions and drug prices will give our people more breathing room in a tough economy, and making sure corporations actually pay taxes is a huge step toward a more just, people-oriented economy.”
See here for photos of People’s Action’s recent protest outside of PhRMA D.C. headquarters demanding lower drug prices and an end to their attempts to buy our democracy [Photo credits: Larry French/Getty].
People’s Action pointed to a number of historic investments and other provisions that drew its support, including:
- Climate justice investments, including a $369 billion investment in renewable energy expected to reduce carbon emissions by almost 40 percent by 2030. The legislation also includes up to $60 billion in investments for frontline communities.
- Health care provisions including permission for Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices and expansion of Affordable Care Act credits for three years. While the organization prefers Medicare for All, these provisions will provide many people with relief from costs imposed by our for-profit health care system.
- Requirements for a 15-percent corporate minimum tax, which represents the largest corporate tax increase in decades.
People’s Action and its state affiliates mounted continuous public pressure to win deep investments in climate, care, and justice throughout this process. Members sent thousands of messages to elected officials, rallied against corporate greed outside of K Street lobbyist headquarters, and held local events across the country to insist that Congress put people over corporate profits. People’s Action also partnered with Demos to publish a Sept. 2021 report, “Behind the Curtain,” unveiling the attempts by corporations to derail the people-first agenda that voters entrusted President Biden to enact.
While celebrating the overall package, People’s Action also noted weaknesses that remained in the legislation caused by the influence of corporate money in politics, including outrageous protections for oil and gas corporations.
“The weak or outright malignant parts of this overall package have corporate fingerprints all over them,” Arias said. “We could have gone even further on corporate taxes and expanding Medicare. The provisions that continue to prop up a corrupt, harmful fossil fuel industry at the expense of the wellbeing of those who live in the Gulf South are shameful. We need an organizing revival to roll back the influence of corporations and make more progress.”
“As corporate greed drives people’s costs higher and higher, we need the relief provided by this agreement,” Progressive Maryland Director Larry Stafford said. “Almost 100 million people in this country have recently cut their food intake, skipped treatments, or did not pay gas or utilities so they could afford health care. That ain’t right. This bill will help get health care costs down, including allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug costs.”
“We’ve been talking about Medicare negotiating on prescription drug prices for 30 years, and this year, organizing got the goods,” Citizen Action New York Co-Executive Director Rosemary Rivera said. “Constant pressure and organizing at the grassroots earned us changes that will save some people thousands of dollars every year.”
Contact: Derrick Crowe, [email protected], 512.516.5067
People’s Action builds the power of poor and working people in urban, rural, and suburban areas to win change through issue fights and elections. We are a national network of 38 state and local grassroots power-building organizations in 28 states–united in the work of building a bigger “we.”