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Pingree, House Democrats Send Landmark Climate, Health Care Bill to President Biden’s Desk

The Inflation Reduction Act will allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices for the first time, make the largest investment ever in the green economy to combat the climate crisis

  • IRA Pelosi Signing

Today, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and House Democrats passed H.R. 5376, the historic Inflation Reduction Act, a sweeping economic package to lower health care costs, combat the climate crisis, and fight inflation. The once-in-a-generation legislation, which was passed by Senate Democrats on August 7, makes transformative changes to Medicare, including allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices and capping out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors at $2,000. The bill also will create millions of new good-paying jobs, combat rising energy costs, and cut pollution in communities. After its passage, Pingree released the following statement:

“The Inflation Reduction Act is a historic victory for our environment, our farmers and ranchers, working families, and the overall health of Americans.

“I have been pursuing Medicare drug price negotiation for decades. As a state Senator, I led bus trips to Canada to help Maine seniors access lifesaving medication that was too expensive in the US – and drug costs have only skyrocketed since then. That’s why the Inflation Reduction Act’s provision allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices after two decades is so monumental. We’ll finally start reining in record profits from Big Pharma while putting money back in Mainers’ pockets and reducing the budget deficit. Coupled with out-of-pocket caps for seniors, penalties for drug makers that gouge patients, and extended Affordable Care Act subsidies to keep premiums low, the Inflation Reduction Act is an essential step forward.

“Under Republican leadership the mere mention of climate change was taboo – even as extreme heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, and floods cost lives and trillions of dollars in federal disaster aid. As someone who came to Congress with the goal of keeping our planet habitable, I’ve been fighting to address the climate crisis in the face of Republican denial and obstruction. That’s why my vote for the Inflation Reduction Act is so significant: it will make up for so much lost time by supercharging America’s path to a clean energy future, providing incentives for Americans to go green and reduce emissions. It is no exaggeration to say the Inflation Reduction Act is the most significant investment to fight climate change in U.S. history.  

“Americans sent Democrats to Washington to get things done. With passage of major bills like the Inflation Reduction Act, the American Rescue Plan, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Democrats in Congress and President Biden have delivered real, life-changing legislation for the American people. Every Republican in Congress voted against this bill, once again choosing politics over people.”

Prior to the bill’s passage, Pingree released a video statement explaining the Medicare prescription drug provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act. Watch that message here.

The bill includes a number of provisions that will directly improve the lives of Mainers:

  • Landmark efforts to make health care more affordable:
    • Extends premium subsidies to keep the ACA Marketplace affordable for Maine families
    • Empowers Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices, impacting nearly 350,000 beneficiaries in Maine
    • Caps Medicare patients’ out of pocket costs at $2,000 per year
    • Requires drug companies to rebate Medicare when they raise prices higher than inflation
    • Ensures that all vaccines are free for Medicare beneficiaries
  • $369 billion in historic climate investments including:
    • Nearly $20 billion for conservation programs to help farmers and ranchers address climate change. Includes funding for programs supported in Pingree’s Agriculture Resilience Act, such as Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
    • $5 billion to support climate-smart forestry, including funding for the Pingree-championed Wood Innovations Grants Program, along with new resources to help private forest owners increase carbon sequestration and storage. 
    • $5 billion for Climate Pollution Reduction Grants for state planning and implementation of greenhouse gas reduction programs, which will help Maine achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2045. 
    • Provides a 10-year extension on consumer tax credits to make homes energy efficient and lower costs for heat pumps, rooftop solar, electric, and water heaters.
    • $1 billion for clean heavy-duty vehicles, such as school and transit buses and garbage trucks
    • Nearly $2 billion for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).


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