By Representative Ilhan Omar
Last week, I hosted a press conference on the Inflation Reduction Act. I am proud that after months of negotiating for a bold bill that delivers real solutions to Minnesotans, we finally passed a bill that meets this moment. This bill reduces inflation in a progressive way — taxing large corporations, cracking down on Big Pharma price gouging, and lowering costs for working families.
It accomplishes that while making the largest investment to combat the climate crisis in our country’s history. This bill will reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030. It will create 9 million new jobs nationwide, including 10,000 new jobs every year for ten years in our state. It will also prevent thousands of premature deaths by investing $60 billion into communities disproportionately hurt by climate change and pollution.
Not only does it combat the climate crisis, the package will lower healthcare costs for thousands of Minnesotans. It empowers Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, caps out-of-pocket prescription costs ,and caps insulin to $35 per month for those with Medicare coverage. It expands affordable healthcare that Minnesotans get through MNsure. And it’s entirely paid for by ensuring corporations and the wealthy finally pay their fair share.
Since getting elected to Congress, I have fought to deliver real, transformative change my community can feel. This bill is a critical step forward for Minnesotans. But, we cannot stop with this legislation. This bill remains the floor, not the ceiling. It is a down payment on climate action and healthcare reform. I will continue to fight for pieces left on the cutting room floor including universal childcare, pre-K, housing, and immigration justice, and the full agenda my constituents voted for.
We were lucky to have many elected and community leaders join us to represent how expansive the Inflation Reduction Act is and discuss how it will touch every corner of the economy in our state.
Representative Jamie Long, who chairs the Minnesota House Climate and Energy Committee, said: “Thank you so much, Congresswoman. This is an incredibly exciting day. We have so many reasons to celebrate and to be here today. And not least of which is that this is the most impactful climate bill that has been passed in U.S. history. That’s not an understatement. But it is also no accident. That is because of the incredible organizing that so many of the folks up here have done.”
Representative Frank Hornstein, who chairs the Minnesota House Transportation Committee, said: “Thank you so much Congresswoman Omar for organizing this and for being such an amazing environmental justice and climate champion. You know, from the days you walked into the Minnesota House, this was an important issue and priority for you. And I appreciate your work. And as Chairman Long said, this historic bill would never have been possible without a movement behind it, a grassroots movement.”
Commissioner Marion Greene, Chair of the Hennepin County Commission, said: “Congresswoman, I want to thank you for your advocacy for this significant piece of legislation…The Inflation Reduction Act is the most extensive, meaningful legislation to address the climate crisis passed in U.S. history. Not only will it support a clean, healthy, sustainable future, but it does so by supporting American workers and families as we work together to build a more secure and resilient climate and country for the next generations.”
Commissioner Jeff Lunde from the Hennepin County Commission said: “I do want to thank Congresswoman and her staff because today we see the results of a bunch of work. But you know that every day that we call for little requests and big requests, your staff or yourself responds…It can be a privilege to be green because it costs money for people and the residents I represent — that you represent — who oftentimes are in low/moderate income. They have a challenge affording some of these green technologies that they could put to use. And this bill addresses that. That’s what makes me excited, that people can actually decide they want to make a difference and also afford to make a difference.”
Council Member Jeremiah Ellison with the Minneapolis City Council said: “When inflation is hitting the pockets of everyday Americans, it’s hitting places like North Minneapolis the hardest. And when environmental injustice is harming our community, it’s usually harming North Minneapolis the most. And so this bill really addresses that through climate resiliency, through job creation in green energy fields. It’s going to help places like North Minneapolis the most through jobs, through green energy, through the reduction of highway expansion, and through the reduction of environmental polluters.”
Robert Lilligren with Native American Community Development Institute said: “Thanks to you and to your staff here in the district and in D.C. for all of your hard work on behalf of the district, the people of Minnesota and the people of this country…The Inflation Reduction Act provides funding specifically to tribes to plan for and adapt to climate change, mitigate drought, support fishery operations and maintenance, and shift to clean energy production and use. Native people are the original caregivers for the land and the water of this country. The Inflation Reduction Act advances environmental justice through making unprecedented $3 billion in block grants.”
Taisia, Youth Organizer with Community Members for Environmental Justice said: “This bill is the biggest investment in environmental justice and climate action in U.S. history. This will allow cities, countries, tribal governments and non-profits to fight air pollution and addresses the racial disparities around environmental health.”
Roxxanne O’Brien with Community Members for Environmental Justice said: “Getting this funding passed was the first step to do that work in a way we have never been able to do before. On behalf of our coalition and community members for Environmental Justice, I want to thank Ilhan and her staff and everyone who has supported her for their consistent hard work to accomplish this.”
Jamez Staples, Founder and CEO of Renewable Energy Partners, said: “I want to say thank you for the work that you’ve done and the commitment that you’ve demonstrated to the environment and specifically North Minneapolis, as well as the other constituents that you represent. We are grateful to see this act passed because we recognize industry needs also come to the table. And so when we talk about the industry, we’re also recognizing the fact that there’s a great deal of tax credits that are actually going to be applied that will ultimately help to spur the development to make these projects actually a reality.”
Janiece Watts, Director of Culture and Partnerships with Fresh Energy, said: “The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act promises to help millions of Americans electrify their lives. And we’re really excited about that. The Minnesota Black, Indigenous, people of color community are under-resourced communities, and are facing unprecedented energy costs. We call that the energy burden and this (legislation) will help reduce the energy burden for many families in Minnesota by being able to afford more appliances, things like heat pumps that we’ve been hearing about.”
Andy Snope with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 292, said: “Electrical and energy is what we do, and we’re very excited about this bill. Thank you, Representative Omar, supporting members of Congress, and the Biden Administration for ensuring that we are creating jobs in this industry by including the provisions of prevailing wage, apprenticeship training standards, and local hiring practices in this legislation. Working together to keep these standards is how we promote careers in the industry that are diverse and inclusive for all working families.”
Luke Dewey, Innovation Leader in the Power Innovation Program Office at Cummins Power Systems, said: “The Inflation Reduction Act really couldn’t have come at a better time for Cummins (Power Systems). We’ve put our strategy around Destination Zero, our policy to have carbon neutral products and operations by 2050. But we really believe to meet our goals and our customer goals, we need strong policy that can drive incentives for adoption of green technologies. And the Inflation Reduction Act does just that with a number of its provisions that really are beneficial for the clean energy space, such as tax credits for renewable diesel and renewable natural gas, the low carbon fuels, the investment tax credit for new low-carbon trucks and the infrastructure to go along with those to charge or refuel those vehicles.”
Joshua Houdek, Senior Program Manager at the Sierra Club North Star Chapter, said: “Thank you Congressman Omar and all the environmental champions in Congress who supported the Inflation Reduction Act and for the opportunity to represent Sierra Club here today and our 50,000 members and supporters across the entire state of Minnesota. The Inflation Reduction Act represents the largest investment in climate action, clean energy, environmental justice in our nation’s history.”
Erin Parrish, the Minnesota Associate Director for Advocacy and Outreach for AARP, said: “On behalf of our 630,000 members in the state, I’m so pleased that after decades of discussion and negotiation, real prescription drug relief for Minnesota seniors is now a reality. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is a monumental improvement for older Minnesotans. We hear stories over and over again from our members who make difficult choices paying for food or rent or their medications, or they are forced out of retirement to go back to the workplace solely to pay for their medications. With these measures in place, they will have real price relief.”
Kathleen Schuler, the Policy Director at Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate, said: “The bill promises significant climate and health benefits as well, with projected greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 40% below 2005 level which you talked about. This puts us on a path to reach net zero by 2050, which is what we need to protect our health and the worst impacts of climate change.”
As you can see, the Inflation Reduction Act has broad support in Minnesota. It is one of the most important bills Congress has passed in generations. I’m looking forward to working with all of these local partners to implement the programs they discussed.
Representative Ilhan Omar