Three big stories today. First of all, the Democrats are taking a victory lap on the anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a law that has transformed the U.S. economy and for which not a single Republican voted.
The IRA was the eventual form President Joe Biden’s initial “Build Back Better” plans took. It offered to lower Americans’ energy costs with a 30% tax credit for energy-efficient windows, heat pumps, or newer models of appliances; capped the cost of drugs at $2,000 per year for people on Medicare; and made healthcare premiums fall for certain Americans by expanding the Affordable Care Act.
By raising taxes on the very wealthy and on corporations and bringing the Internal Revenue Service back up to full strength so that it can crack down on tax cheating, as well as saving the government money by permitting it to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, the IRA was expected to raise $738 billion. That, plus about $891 billion from other sources, enabled the law to make the largest investment ever in addressing climate change while still bringing down the federal government’s annual deficit.
“This is a BFD,” former President Barack Obama tweeted a year ago.
“Thanks, Obama,” Biden responded.
The law has driven significant investment in U.S. manufacturing. Indeed, the chief executive officer of U.S. Steel recently said the law should be renamed the “Manufacturing Renaissance Act,” as manufacturers return previously offshored production to the U.S. That same shift has brought supply chains back to the U.S. These changes have meant new, well-paid manufacturing jobs that have been concentrated in Republican-dominated states and in historically disadvantaged communities.
Scientists Alicia Zhao and Haewon McJeon, who recently published an article in Science, today wrote that the IRA “brings the US significantly closer to meeting its 2030 climate target [of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 50–52% below 2005 levels], taking expected emissions from 25–31% below 2005 levels down to 33–40% below.”
While Republican presidential candidates took shots at the IRA today—former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley called it “a communist manifesto”—Democrats have pointed out that Republicans have been eager to take credit for IRA investments in their districts without mentioning either that they voted against the IRA or that they are still trying to repeal it.
If the Democrats are taking a victory lap for passing this transformative law a year ago, the second big story today showed the effort to steal the 2020 presidential election was fully formed earlier than had been established previously. That story came from MSNBC’s Ari Melber, who revealed a video taken by Danish filmmaker Christoffer Guldbrandsen of Trump ally Roger Stone plotting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election on November 5, 2020, two days before the election was called for President Biden.
In the video, Stone dictated to an associate a statement saying that “any legislative body may decide on the basis of overwhelming evidence of fraud to send electors to the Electoral College who accurately reflect the president’s legitimate victory in their state, which was illegally denied him through fraud. We must be prepared to lobby our Republican legislatures…by personal contact and by demonstrating the overwhelming will of the people in their state—in each state—that this may need to happen,” he said.
This video, recorded while the election was not yet decided, recalls the statement of Trump ally Steve Bannon, who told a group of associates on October 31, 2020—before the election—that Trump simply planned to declare he had won, claiming that the expected wave in favor of Biden was fraudulent. “What Trump’s gonna do is just declare victory. Right? He’s gonna declare victory. But that doesn’t mean he’s a winner,” Bannon said. “He’s just gonna say he’s a winner.”