With the Senate passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says the act will change the world.
“Our bill reduces inflation, lowers costs, creates millions of manufacturing jobs, enhances our energy security, and is the boldest climate package in U.S. history,” he said during a press conference after the August 7 vote. “The Senate has now passed the most significant bill to fight the climate crisis ever, and it’s going to make a difference to my grandkids.”
However, in a press conference on August 5, Senate Republicans said the bill would raise some costs for American families.
“Wasted government money, many of these projects, and they’re going to be loaded into this bill under the grand title of one big climate slush fund,” said Senator John Barrasso (R-WY).
More than $369 billion in the act was approved for climate change and clean energy investments. Of that, about $40 billion will go to USDA for climate-smart agriculture programs; biofuel development; forest restoration work; renewable energy tax credits; conservation technical assistance; and rural electric cooperative carbon capture and storage and resilience projects.
The farmer-led organization Solutions from the Land says it applauds the Senate for prioritizing agricultural and forestry climate and clean energy investments, and it looks forward to the House of Representatives approving the bill. Solutions from the Land president Ernie Shea.
“It’s a very comprehensive piece of legislation and our focus was narrowly focused on the climate change provisions and we’re very please with what the senate has done. They have embraced, finally, the fact that agricultural landscapes need help. They’re being significantly impacted by changing climactic conditions,” said Solutions from the Land president Ernie Shea. “But, they also recognize that as we adopt climate-smart agriculture systems and practices that help producers sustainably intensify production and become more resilient, that they are delivering concurrently a very important greenhouse gas reduction benefit.”
However, Senator John Thune (R-SD) had other comments on the money earmarked for energy and agriculture.
“Sixty billion dollars for environmental justice grants. What does that mean? The American people are going to try to figure this out,” he said during the August 5 news conference. “One point nine billion dollars for canopy coverage—canopy coverage—in urban areas. I’m sure that’s on the hearts and minds of every American. Thirty billion dollars in a climate slush fund that can be used for Democrat-favorite projects. The point is, this is a big tax increase on job creators in this country that isn’t going to do anything to address the inflation crisis in this country.”
The Inflation Reduction Act passed the Senate 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. The House will likely vote on the act on Friday when it reconvenes for a brief session during the August break. The bill is expected to pass.
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National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet News Hour and The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.