Transcript for President Biden signs Inflation Reduction Act
- ABC News Special Report. Now reporting, David Muir.
- Good afternoon. And we're coming on the air because President Biden is about to sign into law that massive health care, climate, and tax bill called the Inflation Reduction Act. It is a hard-fought victory for the President, bringing down prescription drug costs, the largest investment in addressing climate change in US history, raising taxes on corporations, lowering the deficit.
Let's take a look at the scene at the White House dining room right now. Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, talking. He will introduce the President. The President coming back from a summer vacation in South Carolina to sign this bill. That was not a surprise given how much the President wanted this moment, especially given that it appeared all but dead just months ago.
Then, of course, we reported on that surprise breakthrough. Senator Joe Manchin on board, passing the Senate by one vote. Of course, that tie-breaking vote from Vise President Kamala Harris. Then passing the House. Not in the room today, the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, who now has COVID coming down with symptoms last night. She will remain in South Carolina. President Biden who just had COVID testing negative this morning, but he'll have a mask on in the room there today. We've already seen it.
Our team is standing by here on the impact on Americans across this country, lowering drug costs, electric vehicle incentives. Among them, our Chief White House correspondent, Cecilia Vega there, obviously. Chief Meteorologist, Ginger Zee, standing by as well. The bill the President will sign includes $740 billion for this health and climate program, half of it for that largest climate investment in US history, as I mentioned.
Those tax credits for Americans on electric cars and solar panels, on health care, lowering premiums for health insurance, making prescription drugs more affordable for seniors. In fact, it'll cap out-of-pocket drug expenses for seniors at $2,000 a year. And to pay for it, new taxes on major corporations and stepped up IRS enforcement of the wealthy in this country.
Again, President Biden about to deliver remarks before signing the bill. The Senate Majority leader, Chuck Schumer, who is speaking-- and I won't talk over him much longer, but, again, he deserves some credit here, though, he's applauding the President. But some credit for behind the scenes continuing to work with Joe Manchin to come up with a version of this that he would sign on to and eventually he did. Let's listen to the Majority Leader introducing the President on this hard-fought victory.
- If the last two months could be summed up in a word, it would be "persistence." My dad, who died in November and would have been 99 on Flag Day taught me a lesson. If you try to do the right thing and if you persist and never give up, you can make the world a better place. Well, that's what's happened here. We persisted and persisted and persisted and never gave up. And today, it pays off. I know my dad is looking down and smiling.
And finally, and most importantly, thank you, President Biden, for your leadership. This has been a long and grueling process. We wouldn't be here without you. A year and a half ago, you laid out the groundwork for this bill. And, like us, you persisted every single day working closely with my team and our caucus for more than a year to get this bill done.
The President deserves tremendous credit for this moment. He knew precisely when to step in and when to let negotiations play out. He knew when to use the bully pulpit and when to bring people together, away from the spotlight. He made sure we never lost our focus on climate. The President's vision, his dedication to our country, and is his experience who made this moment possible. Thank you, President Biden.
After four years of a President who relished creating chaos, Americans are seeing what it looks like to have a President and a Congress that's focused on delivering results that make their lives better. Mr. President, you've restored dignity, respect, and a sense of action back to the Oval Office. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It's my honor to turn it over now to you.
- Thank you, Majority Leader Schumer. Chuck, you've been a good friend, a long, long time. And, Joe, I never had a doubt.
Joe had an operation on his shoulder. I just want you to know it wasn't because of anything we did.
He's in great shape. And our whip, Mr. Clyburn, you're amazing. And I am reminded often by my staff. Were not for you, your wife telling you to endorse me I wouldn't be standing here. But thank you very, very much. And also, Congresswoman Castor and my good friend, Frank Pallone, Congressman Pallone. Thank you for your leadership.
You know, while they couldn't be here, I especially want to thank Nancy Pelosi, who was instrumental in this law And Vise President Harris for the incredible work she did. And I'm about to sign the Inflation Reduction Act into law, one of the most significant laws in our history.
Let me say from the start with this law the American people won and the special interest lost. The American people won and the special interest lost. We're in a session of, for a while, people doubt it whether anything that was going to happen. But we are in a season of substance. This administration began amid a dark time in America.
As Jim said, a once in a century pandemic, devastating joblessness, clear and present threats to democracy and the rule of law, doubts about America's future itself. And yet, we've not wavered, we've not flinched, and we've not given in. Instead, we're delivering results for the American people. We didn't tear down, we build up. We didn't look back, we look forward. And today, today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright, and the promise of America is real and just beginning.
Look, the bill I'm about to sign, it's not just about today, it's about tomorrow, it's about delivering progress and prosperity to American families. It's about showing the American and the American people that democracy still works in America, notwithstanding all the talk of its demise. Not just for the privileged few, but for all of us.
I swore an oath of office to you and to God to faithfully execute the duties of this sacred office. To me, the critical duty, the critical duty of the President is to defend what is best about America. And that's not hyperbole, defend what's best about America to pursue justice, to ensure fairness, deliver results that create possibilities, possibilities that all of us, all of us can live a life of consequence and prosperity in a nation that's safe and secure.
That's the job. Fulfilling that pledge to you guides me every single hour of every single day in this job. No President should be judged not only by our words, but by our deeds. Not by our rhetoric, but by our actions. Not by our promise, but by reality. And today is part of an extraordinary story that's being written by this administration and our brave allies in the Congress. This law, this law that I'm about to sign finally deliver on the promise that Washington has made for decades to the American people.
I got here as a 29-year-old kid. We were promising to make sure that Medicare would have the power to negotiate lower drug prices back then. Back then, prescription drug prices. But guess what? We're giving Medicare the power to negotiate those prices now on some drugs. This means seniors are going to pay less for the prescription drugs. While we're changing circumstances for people in Medicare by putting a cap, a cap of a maximum of $2,000 a year on their prescription drug costs, no matter what the reason for those prescriptions are. That means if you're on Medicare, you'll never have to pay more than $2,000 a year, no matter how many prescriptions you have, whether it's for cancer or any other disease, no more than $2,000 a year.
And you all know it because a lot of you come from families that need this. Is a Godsend. This is a Godsend to many families and so, so long overdue. The Inflation Reduction Act locks in place lower health care premiums for millions of families who get their coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Last year, a family of four saved an average $2,400 through the American Rescue Plan that I signed into law that the Congress and voted in place.
In the years ahead, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, 13 million people are going to continue to save an average of $800 a year on health insurance. The Inflation Reduction Act invests $369 billion to take the most aggressive action ever, ever, ever, ever in confronting the climate crisis and strengthening our economic energy security.
It's going to offer working families thousands of dollars in savings by providing them rebates to buy new and efficient appliances, weatherize their homes, get tax credit for purchasing heat pumps and rooftop solar, electric stoves, ovens, dryers. It gives consumers a tax credit to buy electric vehicles or fuel cell vehicles, new or used. And it gives them a credit, a tax credit of up to $7,500 if those vehicles were made in America.
American auto companies along with American labor are committing their treasure and their talent, billions of in investment to make electric vehicles and battery and electric charging stations all across America, made in America, all of it made in America. This new law also provides tax credits that's going to create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, clean energy manufacturing jobs.
Solar factories in the Midwest and the South, wind farms across the plains and off our shores, clean hydrogen projects and more all across America, every part of America. This bill is the biggest step forward on climate ever, ever. And it's going to allow us to boldly take additional steps toward meeting all of my climate goals and the ones we set out when we ran. It includes ensuring that we create clean energy opportunities in front line and fenceline communities that have been smothered, smothered by the legacy of pollution and fight environmental injustice that's been going on for so long.
There's another win for the American people. In addition to cutting the deficit by $350 billion last year in my first year in office and cutting at $1.7 trillion this year, this fiscal year, we're going to cut the deficit point out by another $300 billion with the Inflation Reduction Act over the next decade.
We're cutting deficits to fight inflation by having the wealthy and big corporations finally begin to pay part of their fair share. Big corporations will now pay a minimum of 15% tax instead of 555 of them got away with paying $0 in federal income tax on $40 billion in profit. And I'm keeping my campaign commitment, no one-- let me emphasize, no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in federal taxes. Folks--
The Inflation Reduction Act does so many things that for so many years so many of us have fought to make happen. And let's be clear, in this historic moment, Democrats sided with the American people and every single Republican in the Congress sided with the special interest in this vote. Every single one. In fact, the big drug companies spent nearly $100 million to defeat this bill, $100 million.
And remember, every single Republican in Congress voted against this bill. Every single Republican in Congress voted against lowering prescription drug prices, against lowering health care costs, against the fairer tax system. Every single Republican, every single one voted against tackling the climate crisis, against lowering our energy costs, against creating good-paying jobs. My fellow Americans, that's the choice we face. We can protect the already powerful or show the courage to build a future where everybody has an even shot. That's the America I believe in. That's what I believe in.
And today, we've come a step closer to making that America real. Today, too often, we confuse noise with substance. Too often we confuse setbacks with defeat. Too often we hand the biggest microphones to the critics and the cynics who delight in declaring failure, while those committed to making real progress do the hard work of governing.
Making progress in this country as big and complicated as ours clearly is not easy. It's never been easy. But with unwavering conviction, commitment, and patience, progress does come. Your dad was right. And when it does, like today, people's lives are made better and the future becomes brighter and a nation can be transformed.
That's what's happening now. From the American Rescue Plan that helped create nearly 10 million new jobs, to once in a generation infrastructure law that will rebuild America's roads, bridges, ports, deliver clean water, high speed internet to every American. To the first meaningful gun safety law in 30 years. And if I have anything do to with it, we're still going to have an assault weapons ban, but that's another story. And it gets significant Veterans' Health care law in decades, for the first time. To a groundbreaking chips in science law that's going to ensure that technologies and jobs of the future are made here in America, in America.
And all this progress is part of our vision and plan and determined effort to get the job done for the American people so they can look their child in the eye and say, honey, it's going to be OK. Everything's going to be OK. Everything is going to make sure that the democracy delivers for your generation because I think that's at stake.
And now, I know there are those here today who hold a dark and despairing view of this country. I'm not one of them. I believe in the promise of America. I believe in the future of this country. I believe in the very soul of this nation. And most of all, I believe in you, the American people. I believe to my core there isn't a single thing this country cannot do when we put our mind to it.
We just have to remember who we are. We are the United States of America, there's nothing beyond our capacity. That's why so many foreign companies decide to invest their make chips in America, billions of dollars. We're the best, we have to believe in ourselves again. And now, I'm going to take action that I've been looking forward to doing for 18 months.
And sign the Inflation Reduction Act.
- There you have it, the President in the State Dining Room about to sign legislation that he joked he never had a doubt that we know inside the White House. They certainly had doubts about whether this would ever cross the finish line. You see Joe Manchin there on the left-hand side of your screen on board in the end. Not called Build Back Better, called the Inflation Reduction Act. Smaller in many ways, though historic when it comes to climate change, lowering prescription drug costs, lowering health care costs.
He's now signed that bill, that $740 billion bill into law. Handed the pen to Joe Manchin there. Mentioned that Senator Manchin had an operation on his shoulder and joked that was not because of any of us in trying to get this bill signed into law. The President putting his mask back on. And I mentioned earlier, the reason for that is because his wife, the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden coming down with COVID. Obviously, being careful. This is around others now, though he tested negative this morning and recently had COVID himself, obviously.
As we continue to watch the scene here, I want to bring in our Chief White House correspondent, Cecilia Vega, who watches it every single day for us. Cecilia, no question, this was a big win for the President. Two questions for you here, though. How soon could Americans actually see some of the benefits here? And on the politics of this, how soon could the President, whose approval ratings are at historic lows, see any boost here, especially with the midterms quickly approaching?
- Yeah, David. You mentioned, it is quite the scene to see Joe Manchin there, the Senator who potentially could have railroaded this entire thing receiving the pen from the President. They are all celebrations inside that room today. Look, as for the timeline and when Americans will feel the effects of this, we could be potentially looking at months, in some cases even years on some of the big ticket items that people are particularly focused on today.
That $35 monthly cap on insulin, that kicks in next year. That $2,000 annual cap on prescription drug pricing, that doesn't kick in until 2025. The tax credits for electric vehicles, that takes effect next year. On the politics of though, David, you saw President Biden there. They are celebrating this as a historic win. And it really is, arguably, one of the largest, the larger, if not, legislative wins for this White House so far.
It's going to help Democrats head into these midterms with the wind in their sails, frankly, on one of the issues that is top-of-mind for voters right now, that is inflation, that is the economy. But he's got a real reality check ahead of him. It is an uphill battle. You mentioned those polls, 2/3 of Americans think that the economy is getting worse and just about the same amount of Americans disapprove of the President's handling of the economic recovery.
And make no mistake, David, Republicans have really pounced on this one. They are hoping that this legislation that President Biden just signed helps energize their base. They see this as a Democratic grab bag, a wish list of pet projects. But what you're going to see now in terms of the politics is the President, the White House, Democrats, the whole party really take a victory lap on this.
They're going to be traveling around the country, cabinet members including, to try to sell the American public and convince them that this is helping their bottom line. We've also, our team, has just heard that Democrats are going to start with an ad blitz to really try to sell this to the American public. But, David, look, we're 84 days out from these midterms. It remains to be seen whether Americans are going to remember this bill signing or, frankly, feel the effects of it by the time they head to the polls.
- 84 days out. Not surprised that that's another number Cecilia would know by heart at this point. Cecilia, our thanks to you, as always, for giving us a bit of a reality check here. We heard a preview from the President there moments ago saying not one Republican voted for historic investments in fighting climate in this country, lowering prescription costs, lowering health care costs over the years ahead. And that is the message Democrats will try to use, whether that's successful or not remains to be seen, as Cecilia so aptly pointed out there.
I want to bring in our Chief Meteorologist, Ginger Zee, Managing Editor of our climate unit. And Ginger, it's not everything the President wanted or campaigned on when it comes to fighting climate change, but you and I were talking before we went on. This is still the largest US investment ever to fight climate here in the US. Talk us through this.
- Yeah, David. I can't underscore enough that it is not just the largest climate legislation that Congress has passed, it's the largest by far. We're talking about $370 billion that we know that right now, unlike what Cecilia was saying where you have to wait for some of these things, right now the solar tax credit now is up to 30%.
We can weatherize our homes within a year and get credits from that. Geothermal energy you could get rebates for right now as of that signing. You also have those incentives for the electric vehicles coming. So it's big, but bottom line this will reduce emissions. And you'll remember, the Biden administration had made a goal that taking 2005 emissions levels, they wanted to slash those by 50% by the year 2030. At this very moment, we're on track for about a 25% to 30% cut, which is something, but this is going to get us to 40%, which we know, as scientists tell us, we have to curb those emissions as quickly as possible so we can curb the warming of our planet and everything that comes from it.
9 million jobs by the year 2030, this gives us the GDP up to almost in a percent in 2030 because of this bill. And when you talk about small electric and savings for the consumer, this could end up giving everybody at home about a $200 annual savings. David.
- Ginger Zee with us as well joining Cecilia Vega and me for this Special Report. Ginger, our thanks to you. And as Ginger points out, by the year 2030, which always sounds so far off, just eight years from now, again, hoping to meet that goal given the bill that was signed into law today to cut greenhouse gas by 40% from those 2005 levels by the year 2030. Again, less than a decade from now. Our coverage will continue at ABC News Live, Abcnews.com. I'll be back with the entire team for World News Tonight.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.