Lauded by Dems, lambasted by Republicans, IRA marks one-year anniversary

Democrats love it. 

Republicans loathe it. 

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was signed into law one year ago by President Joe Biden, and its anniversary has brought close examination on the effects it is having on Pennsylvania. 

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) marked the anniversary by stating that the IRA is lowering the cost of health care and prescription drugs for American families and seniors, including a $35 cap on insulin for seniors. Casey said the act likewise lowers energy costs from electricity bills to electric vehicles and invests in American manufacturing projects using American materials and investments in energy communities. 

“Because of this law, seniors and families are spending less on their prescription drugs, Americans are spending less on their electricity bills, and we’re on the cusp of a manufacturing renaissance in the United States,” Casey said in a statement. “By investing in America’s clean energy capabilities, we’re on track to meet our climate goals. Pennsylvania families and communities are feeling the impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act, but I’m proud to say that the best of this law is yet to come.”

Casey’s colleague, Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chair Senator Sharif Street, recently released a statement on the anniversary of the IRA becoming law:

“One year ago, President Biden and Democrats beat Big Pharma and ultra-wealthy special interests to pass the Inflation Reduction Act — despite every single Republican in Pennsylvania voting against it.

“The legislation is doing exactly what it promised: lowering health care and prescription drug costs for families, bringing new jobs to our communities, and spurring crucial investments in clean energy that will continue to deliver for future generations of Pennsylvanians. The progress we’ve made is all at stake in 2024 as MAGA Republicans pledge to roll back the historic legislation and increase costs on middle-class families.”

While Democrats laud the Inflation Reduction Act as an investment that is lowering health care costs while also making generational investments in clean energy, American manufacturing, and good-paying union jobs, Republicans view it as a reckless, destructive measure.

“The idea that the Biden Administration and Democrats in Congress did anything to reduce inflation at all is a fairy tale,” Pennsylvania Republican Senator Scott Martin, Berks/Lancaster, wrote in an email. “In reality, the reckless and irresponsible spending in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act likely made the pressures of inflation even greater on working families over the past year. 

“Inflation is only beginning to moderate now because of the painful rate hikes enacted by the Federal Reserve, not because of anything done by the Biden Administration and their allies in Washington, DC.”

State Senator Kristin Hill-Phillips, R-York, stated that the IRA has not helped Pennsylvania.

“Washington’s problem is that they cannot print money fast enough before they spend it on a never-ending wish list,” Phillips-Hill wrote in an email. “A year later and Pennsylvanians are still stuck paying sky-high gas prices, rising interest rates continue to keep middle class families from buying a home or vehicle, and the cost of buying groceries places a huge strain on household budgets.

“Since the passage of this law, families in southern York County continue to struggle due to the disastrous policies coming from the Biden Administration. The only ‘reduction’ from the Inflation Reduction Act is the amount of money families have left over after paying all of their bills.”

Kristen Swearingen, vice president of Legislative & Political Affairs for American Builders and Contractors, has stated ABC’s opposition to the Act on grounds that it imposes tax hikes on American companies and workers, reinstates a tax on crude oil and imported petroleum products, and creates restrictive labor requirements.

Ivanti CEO Jeff Abbott, who has led the large private company to recently reach $1B in revenue, took the view that the IRA is helping to transition the U.S. economy from rapid recovery to stable growth.

“The way I see it, 2023 was a year of rebalancing and 2024 will be a year of growth,” said Abbott. “As we near the end of the year, we’ll see the breadth of inflation narrowing and businesses vigilant about tech spending.”