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Pramila Jayapal

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on June 24, 2019. (Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

'Door to Real Progress': Jayapal Makes Case for House Passage of the IRA

"It's an achievement we can all feel excited about—especially when we dig into the details," said the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Julia Conley

Pledging to continue fighting for provisions that were left out of the U.S. Senate-passed Inflation Reduction Act, Rep. Pramila Jayapal on Thursday said that while the package is far from perfect, progressives in the House "should feel very proud of our part in getting to this point" and called for lawmakers to send the bill to President Joe Biden's desk.

"While we're heartbroken to see the care economy, housing, and immigration left on the cutting room floor, we should be very clear that the Inflation Reduction Act [IRA] takes real steps forward on key progressive priorities," wrote Jayapal, who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC).

Parts of the Build Back Better Act, which progressives fought for last year, "are now in the Inflation Reduction Act—about to become law," she added at the progressive think tank Data for Progress. "It's an achievement we can all feel excited about—especially when we dig into the details."

Jayapal reiterated climate action advocates' disapproval of the bill's expansion of fossil fuel leasing, which one campaigner said was among its "egregious fossil fuels concessions" earlier this week.

"If we can expand our majority in the Senate this November, we will be ready to immediately pass that next piece of the president's life-changing agenda." 

Such allowances, however, will be "far outweighed by the bill's carbon emissions cuts," said Jayapal, pointing to the IRA's acceleration of the use of electric vehicles, solar panels, and heat pumps.

In addition to saving households an average of $1,025 annually in energy costs and creating nine million jobs, she added, those provisions "will put the United States on track to cut carbon pollution by 40% by 2030."

The CPC chair also noted that passing the IRA into law will cap senior citizens' yearly prescription drug costs and limit insulin costs to $35 per month for people who use Medicare—and that an expansion of those price caps for people with private insurance was taken out of the bill because of Republican opposition.

"Sen. Schumer has promised to bring back that legislation for another vote—and we need to ensure those benefits extend to those who are uninsured," said Jayapal.

Passing the IRA will allow Congress to deliver much-needed reforms for the American public, and with 73% of Americans—including 95% of Democrats—supporting the legislation, passage could make it possible for the Democratic Party to quickly pass even more ambitious reforms including universal childcare and paid family leave after the midterms.

"If we can expand our majority in the Senate this November," she added, "we will be ready to immediately pass that next piece of the president's life-changing agenda, delivering long-overdue investments that will allow Americans not just to survive, but thrive." 

With far more work to do to achieve economic, immigration, gender, and climate justice, said Jayapal, the IRA has "opened the door to real progress."

"Progressives in Congress intend to vote to pass it this week," she added, "and then charge through that open door to continue the fight for working people."

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