Durbin Highlights Benefits of Inflation Reduction Act on Senate Floor

Durbin calls out Senate Republicans for pushing false narratives about the historic legislation that addresses inflation, prescription drug pricing, and climate change

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) highlighted the historic benefits of the now-signed Inflation Reduction Act, which reduces the cost of prescription drugs, combats climate change, and addresses inflation. Durbin began his remarks by noting a long-overdue provision in the legislation that allows Medicare to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs.  

Durbin said, “After years of candidates going out on the campaign trail and telling America that the cost of prescription drugs were too high, we finally did something about it. Finally, after years of negotiating the price for drugs in the Veterans Administration so we could afford to give our veterans the very best, we applied the same standard to Medicare.”

Durbin noted that these same prescription drugs in Canada and Europe are available for a fraction of the cost that Americans are forced to pay. Durbin further explained that the new policy will allow Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies directly, significantly lowering the price of expensive, lifesaving medications. The Inflation Reduction Act will also ensure that no Medicare beneficiaries pay more than $2,000 out of pocket for their prescription medications.  For Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes, the legislation will cap the cost of insulin at $35 per month.

“No recipient of Medicare will ever pay more than $2,000 a year for prescription drugs… Do you know what these same people were faced with when it came to cancer drugs and other therapies? Thousands and thousands of dollars… Millions of Americans suffer from diabetes, or someone in their family does, and we said that if you’re on Medicare, you won’t have to pay more than $35… That’s a relief to a lot of people with diabetes in their family,” Durbin said.

Durbin also addressed Republican myths that the Inflation Reduction Act will increase taxes for the average American family. While Republicans perpetuate the false claim, these same lawmakers stayed silent as they used the Senate’s reconciliation process during the Trump Administration to pass a nearly $2 trillion tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, that undeniably supported big corporations and wealthy individuals at the expense of working families. In his remarks, Durbin reminded his Republican colleagues that the Inflation Reduction Act establishes a minimum tax rate for companies that have made more than $1 billion per year on average over the last three years. Anyone earning less than $400,000 annually, will not see an increase in their taxes.

“In this bill, we did, in fact, address the tax code… a corporation that over the last three years has had a net profit – an average profit of $1 billion a year over the last three years, [now has] to pay a minimum corporate tax of… 15 percent,” Durbin said.

“You know the net result of it? The net result of it will reduce the deficit this year by $1.3 trillion. All this talk about big spenders in Congress – the bill we put together for inflation reduction zeroed in on capping the cost for prescription drugs for Medicare and making sure that profitable corporations pay their fair share of taxes,” Durbin continued. 

Durbin concluded his speech by sharing his optimism about the provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act that center on combatting climate change. The legislation includes incentives, tax credits, and federal funding for the development of clean technology manufacturing.

“I think we are facing in this world today obvious evidence of extreme weather and changes that should alarm us. Yes, it’s climate change… What we did in this bill was to create incentives for American families and corporations to start taking steps toward responsible conduct. It’s coming. It wasn’t a federal mandate that required all of the car companies to build electric vehicles. They see the writing on the wall. They realize we have to change the way we energize transportation in America… Not a single Republican voted for it,” Durbin concluded.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes many provisions that will help cut costs for American families. It will reduce our national deficit by about $300 billion, cut energy costs—now and in the future—by deploying American-made clean energy and by making the biggest investment to battle the climate crisis in U.S. history. The Inflation Reduction Act invests in clean, new American energy sources, so that our energy future can be determined by American ingenuity, not a foreign oil cartel. The bill will enable the U.S. to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 40 percent by 2030.

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.                                                                        

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.