Inflation Reduction Act Makes Big Advances but Leaves out Anti-Poverty Priorities

This statement can be attributed to Hannah Matthews, deputy executive director for policy at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

Washington, D.C., August 12, 2022—The just-passed Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 includes important and long-overdue investments to help restore fairness in our tax system, reduce health care costs, and address the climate crisis.

Notably, the legislation’s crucial climate investments include targeted funding for climate justice to address the disproportionate environmental and public health harms to communities with low incomes and communities of color. This includes creation of the Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants to invest in workforce development in these communities. In addition, the bill’s health care provisions will support families by lowering drug costs and continuing to reduce the burden of health premiums through the Affordable Care Act exchanges. The inclusion of fairer taxation policies will help rebalance our economy and ensure that higher-income households and corporations pay the taxes they owe.

At the same time, the legislation failed to address many longstanding economic issues that are critical for communities with low incomes, communities of color, and immigrants. These overlooked issues include child care; paid family and medical leave; expansions of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit; health care for people in the 12 states that stubbornly refuse to expand Medicaid coverage; a pathway to citizenship for immigrants; and large-scale subsidized employment targeted at young people and those impacted by the criminal legal system.

Investments in America’s children, youth, workers, and families cannot continue to be left on the cutting room floor. As we celebrate this historic legislation, CLASP urges Congress to immediately return to the unfinished business that will set our country on a more equitable path.