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Transcript of Pelosi Floor Speech on the Inflation Reduction Act

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.  And thank you for your tremendous leadership – you and the other Chairs – for bringing this legislation to the Floor. 

The hour is growing late.  As a courtesy to my colleagues, I intend to shorten my remarks. 

[Applause]

For those that I shorten – of the remarks, I promise to put them in the record, if you promise to read them. 

[Laughter]

Let me also begin by saying I associate myself with the remarks of all of my Democratic colleagues.  That covers a lot of territory.   

[Madam] Speaker, under the visionary leadership of President Biden, Democrats have forged historic progress for America’s families.

First, we enacted the life-saving American Rescue Plan to propel us out of the pandemic, put money in pockets, vaccines in arms, children safely in school, people back to work.

Next, we secured the transformative bipartisan infrastructure package to create good-paying union jobs rebuilding our nation. 

This week, President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act, which declares our economic independence, strengthens our national security, enhances our families’ financial future.

We also honored the valiant service of our men and women in uniform with the PACT Act. 

And today, Madam Speaker, is a day of celebration — a day we take another giant step in our momentous agenda. 

Our Inflation Reduction Act is a robust cost-cutting package that meets the moment, ensuring that our families thrive and that our planet survives.  This landmark [legislation], which we send to the President’s desk, starts – and it is a resounding victory for America’s families, starting at their kitchen table. 

What it means to you — to our constituents, to people out there whom we serve — in terms of health care: if [you are] one of Medicare’s 64 million enrollees, this bill brings down the out-of-pocket costs of prescription drugs.  We do this by empowering the Secretary of HHS to negotiate lower prices.  At long last, at long last.  We have been fighting for this for years. 

We do so, again, by capping out-of-pocket prescription drug costs.  And will not pay – and you, our constituents, will not pay one more cent for life-saving medication.  This includes a $35 cap on insulin co-pays.

And we do this by banning drug manufacturers from raising prices faster than inflation, protecting you against predatory price hikes. 

Make no mistake: these measures are a big blow to Pharma, which has had a stranglehold for decades, preventing us from making this move.  Now, we have relaxed that stranglehold a bit.  More to be done, but giving more leverage and more breathing room to America’s families. 

At the same time, this bill – I don’t like saying the title every time, okay – locks in lower premiums that Democrats secured first in the Rescue package.

Together, lowering the cost of prescription drugs and health care premiums are vital strides in our fight for economic justice, and this is particularly important to low-income communities, underserved communities and communities of color. 

In doing so, we honor the call of Dr. King, who said, ‘Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health [is] the most shocking and inhuman, because it often results in physical death.’ 

The inflation bill is a plan divided into three parts.  As we said, prescription drugs and health care.  Second, the most consequential climate action in the history of our Congress, of our country. 

[Applause]

And in doing these two things, reducing the deficit. 

At the same time, the legislation advances President Biden and Democrats’ relentless commitment to putting justice first.  And all these crucial investments are fully paid for by making sure the ultra-rich and biggest corporations pay their fair share. 

The climate provisions are – will make a meaningful difference for America’s working families.  I’m going to put that in the record, if you promise to read it.

But it’s about clean air and clean water for our children.  It’s about nine million good-paying union jobs.  It’s about preventing conflict over resources and habitat.  It’s about values.

Values espoused by Pope Francis when he said earlier this summer, our planet has reached a ‘breaking point’ in the fight against the climate crisis.  Extreme weather continues to wreak havoc across the country, around the world.  It is clear the cost of inaction far outweighs the cost of action. 

The bill saves the planet while keeping more money in your pockets.  For working families, you’ll save an average of $1,000 a year in lower energy bills.  Underserved communities [receive] $60 billion in environmental protection – environmental justice initiatives to ensure that everyone enjoys the benefits of a cleaner green economy. 

Again, the bill pays down the deficit by $300 billion in the first decade.  Here’s what it means to you.  What it means: slashing the deficit drives down inflation in the long-term.  

These monumental investments are – for families, in health care – are fully paid for, ensuring the biggest corporations and wealthiest pay their fair share.  And that is an estimate of about $160 billion a year of taxes they are unlawfully not paying.  Right now, families are being harmed by corporate profiteering.   

Let me just say, I don’t want you to take it from me.  I want you to take it from a large number – 126 economists, including seven Nobel Prize winners and three former Chairs of the Council of Economic Advisors, in a letter urging passage of this bill.  I want you to hear this, my Republican friends, because clearly you don’t know this, but now that you do, perhaps you will change your comments.  ‘These investments will fight inflation and lower costs for American families while setting the stage for strong, stable and broadly-shared long-term economic growth.’  And I submit their letter to the record. 

But another point I want to make – as I hear them saying that this is going to be such a thing about the audits – despite the Republicans’ desperate falsehoods, this bill does not increase IRS audits on America’s working families.  And the IRS Commissioner himself, a Republican appointed by Donald Trump, said: ‘These resources are absolutely not about increasing audit scrutiny on small businesses or middle-income Americans.’  So there you have it.

I would just say at the end of all of this – I ask these questions.  When you hear about what this means to America’s working families, how can you vote against lowering health care costs and prescription drug costs for seniors and underserved communities as we continue to fight inflation?  

How can you vote with Pharma at the cost of America’s seniors and America’s working families? 

How can you vote against protecting future generations from rising sea levels, raging wildfires and crippling droughts?  

How can you vote against reducing the deficit or asking billionaires and companies and wealthy avoiders of taxes to pay their fair share?  And I’m not talking about people who work the system.  I’m talking about people who illegally do not pay their taxes. 

So my colleagues, every Member is confronted with a choice.  We either put People Over Politics or politics over people. 

And for centuries, Members of Congress have stood where we stand, facing the exact same decision as they constructed the pillars of America’s economy and safety.  Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act.  Things that Republicans opposed all along the way. 

This bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, a package For The People, increases the leverage of the public interest over the special interests and expands the promise of health and financial security — now and for generations to come. 

So submitting the rest to the record, I urge every Member to put aside their misunderstanding of this and vote for the Inflation Reduction Act, as we send this historic legislation to President Biden’s desk for signature this evening, for him to sign into law.

And I yield back the balance of my time. 

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