Transcript for ABC New Live: Biden signs Inflation Reduction Act
- Hi, thank you for staying with us on this Tuesday. I'm Kenneth Moton. We begin here in Washington, where President Joe Biden just signed that $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act into law, calling it a godsend.
- This is a godsend. This is a godsend to many families, and so, so long overdue. 13 million people are going to continue to save an average of $800 a year on health insurance. We're cutting deficits to fight inflation by having the wealthy and big corporations finally began to pay part of their fair share.
In this historic moment, Democrats sided with the American people, and every single Republican in the Congress sided with the special interests in this vote. Every single one.
- Signed and sealed, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Something that many thought would not happen just a few weeks ago, definitely not a few months ago, is now the law of the land. For more, let's bring in ABC News business reporter, Alexis Christoforous in Los Angeles and ABC correspondent Zohreen Shah here in Washington.
Zohreen, is this a win for the President? What else did the President have to say today, and how is the White House promoting this ahead of the midterms?
- Oh, it's absolutely a win. I mean, you really got the sense that this is a part of the legacy of his administration. I mean, he started up there. He started talking about the arc of his administration, right? Those early days. He says finally, Medicare can negotiate drug prices with a cap of $2,000.
He talked about climate change, the $370 billion that they're investing there. You heard Ginger, just a bit ago, talking about what a huge, huge win this is for his administration, and for climate change. And then you hear him talk about taxes on the wealthy and on corporations.
And yes, Kenneth, he is going to be traveling across the country with other Democrats, touting this as a massive win. And you heard Cecilia just a bit ago also talking about how they're even launching ads very soon.
- Yeah. as Zohreen just mentioned, Alexis, our chief meteorologist Ginger Zee and managing editor of the climate unit mentioned that we will see immediate action on the climate front here, when it comes to combating climate change. But when it comes to inflation, not so much.
So we know this package actually is working to reduce inflation. But will it? How long until Americans see relief?
- Right. Well it won't be immediate, when it comes to the overall inflation picture, Kenneth. A lot of economists say that this will have a negligible effect on inflation over the long term. It does reduce our deficit by $300 billion. That's definitely good news for Americans. But those hoping that this was going to reduce the grocery bill immediately, or help them with relief at the gas pump immediately, it's not going to happen.
There are two areas where we will see some real costs over the next months, really more like over the next few years. And that's in energy and health care costs. On the energy front, there are a number of rebates and tax credits that homeowners will be able to get to sort of upgrade their homes to cleaner energy.
There are also rebates if you're going to buy-- and tax credits if you're going to buy an electric vehicle, new or used. In the fine print, though, not every electric vehicle on the road right now, or up for sale in this country, is eligible. On the health care front, Medicare recipients are going to be capped out at $2,000 out-of-pocket expenses a year.
Insulin on a monthly basis capped out at $35 a month. So there are going to be some real cost savings. But even those cost savings won't last-- won't happen until at least 2025.
- Zohreen, the President criticized Republicans for voting against this bill. Any reaction across the party line there?
- I mean, look, we know how close it was, Kenneth. I mean, it was 50/50 in the Senate. And then in the House, not a single Republican voted for this. Republicans have said that this is going to increase the economic struggle. They say it's going to take money away from Medicare, and they're not happy with the money that's going towards more IRS workers.
But look, I think the optics of having Joe Manchin right there, someone who doesn't necessarily always side with the Democrats, right? He was right behind Joe Biden. He was the first person, if you saw, that Joe Biden shook hands with afterward. But look, Democrats are going to be campaigning on this.
They're very happy about it. But you know the Republicans will be too, in their favor.
KENNETH MOTON: Yeah. And Alexis, this legislation also includes some tax increases. Will individual Americans see their taxes go up as a result?
- Great question, and I think the short answer is no. This is going to raise taxes on the wealthiest US corporations. 15% minimum corporate tax on them, and individuals making over $400,000 a year. But some critics say if you start taxing big corporations who employ people, that might cause them to hold back in other areas.
Perhaps not give wages, perhaps not hire as many people. So some critics are saying this is a bit of an overreach by the government. Zohreen mentioned the IRS, $80 billion going to that agency to help things there, to help things run more smoothly. So we could maybe see our tax refunds come a little quicker, and maybe those phone calls you've been waiting to get answered will finally by-- be answered by a human being.
But overall, I'll leave you with this. Economists are saying this legislation is going to reduce overall inflation by just 1/10 of 1% over the next five years, Kenneth.
- All right, we'll leave it right there. Alexis, Zohreen, thank you. Appreciate it.
In the meantime, former President Trump's influence is being put to its biggest test in today's primary elections. Wyoming, Congresswoman Liz Cheney is Trump's biggest Republican critic, and she's vowing to fight on, even if she loses today. Chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl has the latest.
JONATHAN KARL: Today's election in Wyoming is a primary battle unlike any other. Liz Cheney is the most outspoken and most effective critic of Donald Trump in the Republican Party. And voters here in Wyoming seem set to remind her that out here, this is Trump's party.
- There's a visceral hatred, and this is going to drive people to the polls.
JONATHAN KARL: Cheney, Wyoming's sole representative in the House, has made this a referendum on the truth, calling out Trump's lies about the 2020 election and vowing she'll fight to make sure he never holds office again.
- America cannot remain free if we abandon the truth. The lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen is insidious.
JONATHAN KARL: Cheney is helping to lead the House select committee's investigation of January 6, and Trump's efforts to overturn the election.
- Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible. There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.
JONATHAN KARL: But Wyoming backed Trump in 2020 by his widest margin of any state. He beat Joe Biden here by nearly 44%. Cheney faces Harriet Hageman, an attorney and former Cheney supporter who once rebuked Trump. But now she repeats Trump's lies about the stolen election.
Trump endorsed Hageman earlier this year.
- Liz, you're fired. Get out of here. Get out of here.
JONATHAN KARL: She has also deployed her father, perhaps Wyoming's most famous political figure, former vice president Dick Cheney. In a campaign ad, the Elder Cheney hit back hard at Trump.
- He's a coward. A real man wouldn't lie to his supporters.
- Donald Trump may well win the battle here in Wyoming today. Liz Cheney is very much considered the underdog in this primary. But she has made it abundantly clear that win or lose here in Wyoming, her fight with Trump over the future of the Republican Party is far from over, and she has not ruled out a run for President in 2024. Kenneth?
- All right, Jon Karl there in Wyoming. Thank you so much. Joining me now to discuss, ABC News deputy political director Averi Harper, and our contributors, former Democratic Senator for North Dakota, Heidi Heitkamp and former director of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice and the Trump administration, Sarah Isgur.
Our own powerhouse roundtable here, I see. Good to see you all. Averi, Republican Liz Cheney also reached out to Wyoming Democrats and independents, urging them to switch party affiliations to vote for her. Could that actually save her?
- Right, well Wyoming voters had until about two weeks ago to switch their party affiliation. And sure, theoretically it could bump her up a little bit in the polls. But you have to understand that Republicans far outnumber Democrats and independent voters in the state of Wyoming.
I mean, you heard Jon Karl say just a little bit earlier that this is a state where former President Trump won by one of his widest margins. So the likelihood of this swinging the election, this primary in her direction, is highly unlikely.
- And we know, Sarah, that Liz Cheney brought out the big guns. Her father, the former vice president Dick Cheney was part of one of her campaign ads where he called Trump a coward. With that loyal base of support-- supporters for the former President, did that ad have an influence over voters, knowing that this is not Dick Cheney's Republican Party anymore?
- I mean, I think obviously, as you said, there's no one more famous in Wyoming, probably, than Dick Cheney at this point. But the question is, will that actually translate into support for his daughter? There hasn't been a lot of evidence in the data we've seen so far. I don't expect to have any big surprises tonight.
But when you talk to Republican voters, even those who don't like Donald Trump, they still don't want to see Liz Cheney win re-election tonight. They say that it's really her myopic focus on Trump alone. That she doesn't do enough to talk about inflation, the failures of Joe Biden.
And so they think that it's not that she stood up to Donald Trump, it's that she is focused so solely and entirely on hitting Donald Trump to the exclusion of Democrats that has really frustrated down the line Republicans.
- And Heidi, Cheney's final campaign ad had a stronger national tone. There's buzz that she may run for president if she loses this race. Where do you think she goes from here?
- Well she doesn't go away. I think that that's the first thing everybody needs to understand. She believes deeply in her core that what needs to happen is a cleansing of the Republican Party. She's going to stand with people like Governor Hogan and begin that process within the Republican Party to try and bring some common sense back, and try and move the party away from Donald Trump.
The question is, can she be successful? You know, Wyoming is a small state with a small population that is deeply supportive of this President. She's likely going to lose, even if she got every Democrat in the state to vote for her. She's still likely to lose. But she's not going to lose her sense of integrity tonight.
She's going to continue the fight, and I think the fight, for her, is the fight for the hearts and minds of Republicans across the country.
- Former Senator Heidi Heitkamp, longtime Democrat. Are you speaking in support of a staunch Republican with the last name Cheney?
- You know, I was asked by a bipartisan group of women which race I was following the closest. And I said, I'm following the Cheney race the closest. And this was probably about five months ago. Because I thought if Liz Cheney can win in Wyoming, it will have broken the fever-- the Trump fever in the party.
It's not likely she's going to win. I think it's going to take the midterms and a lot of Senate victories over candidates that Trump endorsed that may be very helpful, and will help propel her in her work to try and change the minds and the hearts of her fellow Republicans.
- I got you. All right, let's move to the last frontier. Averi, Alaska. A familiar face, former governor and one time vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is back on the ballot running for Congress in a special election. She's been critical of the state's new ranked choice voting system.
What's at stake in this Alaska special election, and how does the voting system work there?
- Right. Well, the sole House seat in Alaska is at stake tonight in tonight's special election to replace the late Congressman Don Young. And this ranked choice voting system is-- this is going to be the first big test. And it really only comes into play if no one candidate gets 50% of the vote, which in a crowded special election like this one is. This is probably what is going to happen.
Each round, the last place candidate will have their first place votes redistributed, and it will keep going until we get one candidate who has 50% of the vote. It's important to note that in Alaska, we are not going to get those results tonight. We are only going to get the first place results tonight, and it won't be until 15 days after the election that we are able to see what the ranked choice tabulation is.
So we're going to be waiting for a while to see who is the winner of this special election.
- But we'll get some results. We'll take that. Heidi, also in Alaska, moderate Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is taking on a Trump-backed challenger. What are her chances?
- Her chances are very good. In fact, I would love to see Lisa break the 50% mark. She was one of my closest allies in the United States Senate. She's an amazingly talented politician. She overcame a Republican primary loss last time, or the time before that, and ran as a write-in.
She-- you would never count her out. And I think that the final four voting definitely works to her advantage, because she didn't have to compete in a solely Republican primary. So I think Lisa's on her way to victory. I don't think anyone-- I don't think there's really any serious contention from the Democratic Party.
And I don't think there's enough Republicans that will vote her out of office. So good for Alaska. They're sending at least one great woman back to Washington DC.
- Sarah, let's go big picture here. What do you think these races tell us about the direction of the Republican Party?
- Well, as we're ending the-- sorry, nearing the end of primary season, we certainly have a lot of data to look back on in terms of the influence that Donald Trump has, the direction of the Republican Party, and the realignment between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.
What looks to be a lot on educational lines, those non-college educated voters moving over to the Republican Party, while college-educated voters have moved to the Democratic party. At this point, the Democratic Party has a larger margin with college-educated voters than it does with non-white voters.
Fascinating as we see, for instance, non-college educated Latino voters vote more and more to the Republican side, as the Republican Party becomes more of a multiracial coalition. This primary season, unquestionably, Donald Trump did better than the other Republican leaders who tried to endorse folks like Pence or Cruz.
What we haven't seen is whether those Trump candidates will actually make it through the general election, which is the real test. Winning the primaries just step one. You actually have to get these people in office. And whether those Trump aligned candidates can attract a general election crowd, that's the real test.
- Nearing the end of primary season, but we are just getting started. Less than three months away from that November election day and those midterms. All right, Sarah Isgur, Averi Harper, Heidi Heitkamp, thank you all. Good to see you.
And be sure to tune in to ABC News Live's complete coverage of the primary races. We'll have results, analysis, and more beginning tonight at 7:00 PM Eastern, right here on ABC News Live.
Coming up, former President Trump calling for the release of the affidavit behind the Mar-a-Lago search, what we're learning about the Justice Department's investigation. New reporting after the break.
Welcome back. Former President Trump is calling for the release of the unredacted affidavit that preceded the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago estate. The Justice Department is fighting to keep the affidavit under seal, saying it could jeopardize the ongoing criminal investigation with potential national security implications.
Senior national correspondent Terry Moran has the latest from Washington.
TERRY MORAN: Former President Donald Trump is calling for the immediate release of the completely unredacted affidavit behind last week's FBI search of his Florida residence. But the Department of Justice wants that affidavit, a sworn document that provides justification for a search and thus a possible roadmap to the case, to remain sealed to protect witnesses in its investigation into Donald Trump's alleged mishandling of classified information.
- They certainly don't want to put former President Trump, or anyone close to him, on notice of what they are looking at.
TERRY MORAN: The Justice Department argues that publishing the affidavit would reveal specific investigative techniques, and could even compromise their investigation. That investigation is a criminal probe with national security implications, DOJ revealing it has witnesses cooperating in this investigation and indicating that a grand jury is involved.
Now some lawmakers are also demanding answers. The top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee have asked the Director of National Intelligence and the DOJ to provide the classified documents retrieved by the FBI, 11 sets in total, along with an assessment of potential risks to national security as a result of their mishandling at Mar-a-Lago.
Sources tell ABC News investigators are now scrubbing through security footage subpoenaed from Mar-a-Lago as they try to retrace the movements of these classified materials and determine whether the country's national secrets have been compromised.
Meanwhile in Georgia, in an unrelated case, one of the many investigations into Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election, prosecutors in Fulton County have notified Rudy Giuliani that he is a target in the investigation. Giuliani, Trump's lawyer in those battles, now faces a likely indictment. Kenneth.
- All right, Terry Moran. Thank you. For more now, let's bring in ABC News investigative reporter Katherine Faulders. Katherine, you've got some new reporting, I understand. Sources telling you that former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and former Deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin were interviewed by the FBI about the documents stored at Mar-a-Lago.
What more are we learning about that?
- Yeah, this is significant. We know that Pat Philbin's interview occurred in the Spring. Cipollone, it's unclear when he spoke to the FBI. But the reality is that they were contacted by the FBI, these two lawyers, once the National Archives started to realize that material was missing.
That material could potentially be down at Mar-a-Lago. Why did they contact them? Well, Trump had designated them, as you do when you leave office, as being the conduits between information that was being requested by the Archives. These two guys had to go through it.
We know that the January 6 committee, for example, had been requesting a lot of documents from the Archives. Pat Cipollone and Pat Philbin were in charge of going through exactly what they requested. So by nature of these requests, the Archives started to realize documents were missing.
The FBI, we're told by sources, wanted to know how they went missing, how they got down to Mar-a-Lago. What the process was, Kenneth.
- All right, and we'll be on the lookout for more reporting on that development there. But moving back to that affidavit that the former President wants released. We know that DOJ officials say the affidavit needs to remain under seal, arguing among other reasons that releasing it could compromise cooperating witnesses.
What more do we know about that, and why else would the Justice Department want to keep the information confidential?
- So there is a hearing set for Thursday on this matter. Multiple news organizations, including us, including ABC, have requested that this affidavit be released. Look, DOJ's argument here, to your question, is that yes, it could compromise national security. And not only that, but witnesses-- we've reported that witnesses have been talking about this.
We know that Trump's staff, some members of Trump's staff, have been interviewed. We know that former White House staffers, that we just reported, have been interviewed. And the other element of this, Kenneth, that's important is this unsealing could also shed some light on additional investigations into Trump and other matters.
And we know, at least we believe, that some witnesses here, potentially, could be witnesses in other matters as well. So that's the argument they're sticking with. DOJ did say that if the judge believes that this should be unsealed, that they wanted to get together and talk about proposed redactions to that material so it doesn't compromise any of that.
- Yeah, we know there are national security implications potentially here, right? I mean, that's what DOJ prosecutors are arguing. But many would ask, why not just release this affidavit with the redactions already?
- Right. And I think that's the question. And DOJ said in their filing, opposing the release that if the judge did find this necessary, that they would have to go over what redactions might be necessary and what they could agree to, for example. It should be pointed out that Trump and his team don't have this document.
It would tell them about the investigative steps. So they don't have the ability to release this document, for example. But I think we will hear more about this on Thursday. We'll learn more about the reasons why prosecutors are opposing this. But look, just in that filing, they have noted that these documents are highly classified, so they also don't want to compromise any intelligence matters.
- Right, right. Moving to Capitol Hill, Katherine, we know that top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Intelligence committee have asked to be provided the classified documents seized by the FBI at the Mar-a-Lago search. What's their argument to view them, and do you think they might actually get them?
- I'm not sure they're going to get the documents. They're not-- they're unlikely, I should say, to get the underlying affidavit in an unredacted form. Look, typically, Congress-- whether it be the ranking member and the chairman there-- there could be a briefing, for example.
The Gang of Eight in Congress is typically briefed on these matters. But just given the sensitivity surrounding this and how some may argue, and officials that I've spoken to, have said that they'd worry about this material leaking, for example, given the nature of it and how politicized it's become.
It's unlikely that this will happen. Now whether there's a briefing-- look, I think we'll find out about that soon.
- Yeah, all right. We'll be on the lookout for it. We do know as this investigation goes on that federal officials say threats of violence have been intensifying online. A Pennsylvania man has been arrested on charges of making threats against FBI personnel. Last week, a man was killed in a standoff after trying to break into an FBI office in Cincinnati.
Katherine, what more are we learning about these threats? Are they going to get worse?
- Look, many experts who study these threats of violence and have been monitoring them online would believe that they're going to get worse. And look, I think it's worth pointing out that the FBI director Chris Wray said last week in a memo to staff that we obtained that the safety of his employees is the most important thing.
That they're working with the Security Division of the FBI to make sure that the agents have increased protection, and that they're protected. And look, it's been reported and Trump said this in an interview that he reached out, in some way, to DOJ to turn down the volume.
But he hasn't released a single statement about that trying to calm the violence, Kenneth.
- Yeah. No he has not. All right, our investigative reporter Katherine Faulders. Good to see you. Thank you, friend. Appreciate it. And coming up, the race to escape. Ukrainians fleeing the area around a Russian held nuclear plant as fears of a catastrophe rise. The latest from Ukraine after this.
We are back with those new developments out of Ukraine. Thousands fleeing the area around that Russian held nuclear plant amid fears of a potential disaster. Rick Clement is inside the nuclear zone with more.
- A mass exodus of Ukrainians fleeing Russian held territory in the Zakaria region, as fears of a nuclear catastrophe loom large. Evacuees reaching this makeshift center in Zakaria, finally making it to non-occupied territory. And after a long journey, the sense of relief is clear.
A really beautiful scene. And many that we're seeing here, people being reunited as they escape Russian occupied areas and try and find safety. You can see, they've got everything they own.
Some of them fleeing Enerhodar, the site of the Russian held Zakaria plant.
It's bad there, it's hard, this woman from Enerhodar tells us. Let authorities go there and have a look. Her fear, justified. Rockets continue to rain down near Europe's largest power plant.
This video circulating online show explosions in the town. Both Russia and Ukraine continue to blame each other for the ongoing attacks.
- A big thanks to [INAUDIBLE] there. I'm Kenneth Moton. Thanks for joining us. More news after this.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.