Baldwin touts, Johnson derides the Inflation Reduction Act

A major federal package that includes expansive green energy, health care and tax policy initiatives is before Congress, with Wisconsin's U.S. senators lining up on either side of the legislation.

By Frederica Freyberg | Here & Now

August 12, 2022

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A sweeping climate, health and tax bill dubbed by Democrats as the “Inflation Reduction Act” passed in a U.S. House vote on Aug. 12. The previous weekend, the Senate passed the measure with zero Republicans voting in favor.

The $437 billion dollar spending bill includes a nearly $370 billion dollar investment in energy and climate reform. It includes $60 billion for renewable energy infrastructure and also a consumer tax credit for electric vehicles.

On the health care side, the bill includes allowing the feds to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare and extends subsidies for Affordable Care Act health plans.

And the measure creates a 15% minimum tax for corporations making $1 billion dollars or more in income, bringing in more than $300 billion dollars in revenue.

One part of the bill is getting notice from folks who might be in the market for clean cars: a new $7,500 tax credit for new electric vehicles and a $4,000 credit for used electric vehicles.

“The Inflation Reduction Act will lower energy costs for consumers and help us meet our long-term emissions goals to combat climate change,” said U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat.

Tammy Baldwin speaks while standing outdoors with a fence and foliage in the background.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, promotes the Inflation Reduction Act in an Aug. 9 appearance at Franklin Electric, a Madison-based company that manufactures EV charging station equipment. (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

Fresh off voting for the measure, Baldwin toured a Madison company building out electric charging stations with the local utility.

“Transportation is the leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Advancing electric transportation powered by an increasingly cleaner electric grid is key to creating a more sustainable future locally and globally,” said Jeff Keebler, the president and CEO of Madison Gas & Electric.

For her part, Baldwin heralds the congressional legislation.

“The Inflation Reduction Act makes the biggest investment in combating climate change that we’ve ever made in the United States,” she said.

Ron Johnson speaks into a microphone in a legislative hearing room with an empty chair behind him.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican, opposes the Inflation Reduction Act and says it will cause energy costs ot increase. Johnson is speaking about an unrelated matter while conducting U.S. Senate business. (Credit: Courtesy of C-SPAN)

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson was among all the Republicans who voted against the measure, and among other things, released a statement calling its title a misnomer.

“The Orwellian named ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ will do no such thing,” stated Johnson. “This is a Green Energy Fantasy that will more likely drive the cost of energy up rather than down.”

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