A month later, Biden gets his IRA celebration
Thousands will join the president at the White House on Tuesday to salute his crowning legislative achievement as Democrats campaign to keep control of Congress this fall.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
President Joe Biden on Tuesday will fete thousands of lawmakers, advocates and elected officials who made the Inflation Reduction Act possible in a celebration at the White House that seemed impossible earlier this year.
Democrats have spent the weeks since President Biden signed the IRA into law last month zig-zagging the country and promoting its key provisions.
White House cabinet members are in the thick of a 23-state, 35-trip swing to market the IRA as part of a longer list of the administration’s accomplishments. The goal of the messaging tour, as I reported last month, is two-fold. First, officials want congressional Republicans to defend voting against popular provisions in the IRA like the insulin cap and the GOP’s statewide anti-abortion extremism after the Supreme Court in June overturned the federal right to abortion care. And second, Biden’s advisors hope to position the president as uniter-in-chief — an experienced leader that demonstrated the temperament and judgment to bring not only Republicans and Democrats together to get things done but also the conservative and progressive wings of his own party.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats were back home last month promoting specific provisions that they believed would most resonate w/ their constituents. In addition to these events, lawmakers also organized three days of action to celebrate social security, focus on reproductive justice in Post-Roe America and promote gun safety.
The IRA extends the enhanced and expanded eligibility for premium tax credits under the Affordable Care Act for three years, beyond President Biden’s first term in office. It also empowers the federal government to negotiate prices for some high-cost drugs covered under Medicare, a provision that would especially benefit American seniors.
Recipients of Medicare Part D will see their out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs capped at $2,000 per year and pay no more than $35 for insulin. And pharmaceutical companies would be required to pay rebates if their drug prices rise faster than inflation.
The IRA makes the biggest investment in climate justice in global history for programs to lower energy costs, increase cleaner production and reduce carbon emissions. And it will also reduce the federal deficit by more than $300 billion and not raise taxes for people making less than $400,000 per year. (The bill will be paid for with a 15 percent corporate minimum tax, revenue collected from stronger enforcement of the tax code by the Internal Revenue Service and an excise tax on stock buy-backs.)
In protest of what it called another example of reckless Democratic spending, every congressional Republican voted against the IRA despite the popularity of the provisions included in the law. GOP leadership is expected next week to roll out its “Commitment to America,” a Trumpian update on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract with America” that promised to reduce the size of government, cut taxes, scale back plaintiff power in tort litigation and shrink the social safety net.
The Commitment is light on policy but heavy on pledges to in part “put an end to Build Back Better.” (Democrats hope to expand their Senate majority so they can pursue BBB policies that were left out of the IRA like the Child Tax Credit, paid family leave and universal pre-K.)
Republicans gained 54 House and nine Senate seats almost three decades ago and the party hopes to activate a similar red wave this fall despite a turning tide caused by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and the January 6th Committee’s work exposing the threat former President Donald Trump and his supporters pose to democracy.
Inflation will again be front and center on Tuesday morning when the August report on consumer prices is released. July’s numbers showed zero inflation and although White House officials are hoping for more of the same, they’ve declined to speculate on tomorrow’s report.
“Regardless of what those numbers are or what we’re going to see [tomorrow], we are going to continue to do the work that we’ve been doing. [T]hat is going to be the president’s priority,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters last week. “All of these things are part of the president’s economic plan to really not leave anybody behind, to build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out. And that’s going to be the focus for us continuing.”
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President Biden announced his intent to name Dr. Renee Wegrzyn as the first director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. ARPA-H is a new agency Biden established in March to drive biomedical innovation.
President Biden signed an executive order to launch an initiative to accelerate biotechnology innovation and grow America’s bioeconomy across multiple sectors, including a range of industries, including health, agriculture, and energy. (Biomanufacturing is the process of using living systems, particularly microorganisms and cell cultures, to produce biological molecules and materials on a commercial scale.) The White House will host a summit on Wednesday to announce new investments and resources across a wide range of agencies that will allow the US to harness the full potential of biotechnology and biomanufacturing.
The White House last week convened a listening session with experts and practitioners on the harms of social apps and the need for greater accountability. Among the administration’s recommendations: Fundamental reforms to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which broadly shields tech companies from liability for the content they host or distribute on their apps.
The White House launched a website with a live dashboard to help you see extreme weather and other hazards from climate change facing your community. The administration said the new portal will help state and local governments and leaders better track real-time impacts and access federal resources for long-term planning.
President Biden announced US Trade Representative Katherine Tai will lead a delegation on Tuesday to attend the inauguration of William Sammie Arap Auto, Kenya’s president-elect. The delegation also includes Democratic Rep. Colin Allred of Texas.
Vice President Harris on Saturday surprised members of her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha at its international mass committee meeting. “And when I think then about the traditions of our sorority, as exemplified by the founders and by everyone in this room, I know that the future of our nation is bright because we are a collection of committed, dedicated people who through our sisterhood understand the promise of our nation and our ability to reach it,” Harris told the audience of 200-plus members.
The State Department together with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services recommended in a report to Congress that the US targets 125,000 refugee admissions for the next fiscal year. The agencies say that the recommendation would enable the country to meet the humanitarian crises around the globe, including more than 100 million displaced persons around the world.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced nearly $2 million in research funding to the University of California, Berkeley to develop a cost-benefit tool to support enhanced aquifer recharge (EAR). EAR is the practice of using excess surface water to intentionally replenish and supplement existing groundwater supplies for storage and potential reuse. But groundwater removal is outpacing the rate of EAR implementation, and additional research is needed to address economic, technological and other factors that affect the ability to implement EAR projects.
The International Organization for Standardization voted to create a special code for gun stores to use when processing credit and debit card transactions. Gun safety advocates say it will help law enforcement officials spot suspicious purchases. (Andrew Ross Sorkin / NYT)
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TODAY IN POLITICS
President Biden received his daily intelligence briefing before traveling to Boston to speak about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s impact on the modernization of a Boston Logan International Airport terminal. Biden then spoke about the Cancer Moonshot on the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s “Moonshot Speech at the JFK Library and Museum followed by another speech and a Democratic National Committee fundraiser. He will return to the White House tonight.
Biden’s week ahead:
Tuesday: The president will host an event celebrating the passage of Inflation Reduction Act
Wednesday: Biden will travel to Michigan to visit the Detroit Auto Show and promote his economic agenda.
Thursday: The president will host and deliver a keynote speech on democracy at the United We Stand Summit and also attend the 45th Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala.
Friday: Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Saturday: The president and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will travel to the United Kingdom for Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral next week.
Vice President Harris is currently meeting with civil rights and reproductive rights leaders.
Dr. Biden traveled to Tennessee to meet with teachers participating in an initiative to strengthen the state’s educator pipeline and speak as part of the administration’s Back to School bus tour. Dr. Biden then visited North Carolina A&T College of Education to meet with students and speak at a school rally. She was joined during both stops by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff this afternoon met with the National Council of Jewish Women to discuss abortion rights.
The House is out.
The Senate is in and this evening will vote to confirm Salvador Mendoza, Jr. to be US Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington) and to advance the nomination of Arianna J. Freeman to be US Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit (Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania).
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