Augusta, ME (August 5, 2022) — A broad range of Maine public health, labor, economic justice, and conservation organizations are urging the U.S. Congress to swiftly pass the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 because it will lower costs for everyday Mainers, create good jobs, and help meet the state’s bipartisan emissions reduction goals.
The long-anticipated reconciliation package would make the largest-ever investment in climate action in U.S. history, providing $369 billion to address the impacts of climate change, accelerate the development of cheaper clean energy sources, and implement energy efficiency solutions like heat pumps. It also includes provisions to lower the cost of prescription drugs and expand access to affordable health care.
Below are statements from organizations across Maine calling the agreement a big win for Maine’s climate and economy:
“The Inflation Reduction Act will deliver what Mainers want: lower energy costs and climate action. With oil and gas prices sky high, the bill will give Maine people more opportunities to move to cleaner, efficient home heating and cooking, and invest billions in local, affordable clean energy sources,” said Anya Fetcher, Federal Policy Advocate at the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “We encourage the state’s entire Congressional delegation to work together to get it passed quickly so we can meet the goals laid out in Maine’s Climate Action Plan and protect the people, places, and outdoor spaces that make our state so special.”
“As the climate crisis continues to worsen, this is the time where we need to unite as a country to confront it collectively,” said Cole Cochrane, co-founder of Maine Youth Action. “The Inflation Reduction Act is the crucial first step to unify our climate approach and invest into significant projects, such as renewable energy. As a youth advocate, I see that the time is now to address the pressing issues that my generation will have to face.
“This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for,” said Kathleen Meil, Director of Policy and Partnerships at Maine Conservation Voters. “Congress must take advantage of this opportunity to invest in clean energy, cut energy costs, create millions of jobs, and tackle climate change, or we will miss our moment – and the extreme weather events playing out across the country will become our new normal while the opportunity to create millions of good-paying, economy spurring jobs passes us by.”
“This bill is a huge leap forward in meeting our nation’s climate commitments,” said Kate Dempsey, State Director, The Nature Conservancy in Maine. “In addition to supporting transportation solutions for rural Mainers, this bill will invest in nature-based solutions. These investments will help communities be more resilient and improve local air quality by reducing pollution. Increasing soil health and storing more carbon through agriculture and forestry will help farmers and foresters. Clean energy investments will bring jobs and boost energy security. Congress must pass this deal as quickly as possible.”
“We are excited to see so many provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act that benefit public health,” said Rebecca Boulos, Executive Director of the Maine Public Health Association. “The legislation would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices directly with manufacturers, lowering prescription drug costs across the board. It also prohibits drug manufacturers from increasing prices higher than the rate of inflation, and extends ACA subsidies, saving the average enrollee about $700 per year on their premium.”
“While working families struggle to afford basic necessities corporations and millionaires have made record profits. MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 applauds the deal reached to advance the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Dean Staffieri, President of MSEA SEIU Local 1989. “It will help Maine’s working-class families, who are struggling, by reducing their prescription drug costs, prevent premium increases on Affordable Care Act health plans, and it will support Maine’s efforts in combating and mitigating the devastating impact climate change is having on our way of life – paid for by ensuring the wealthy and large corporations actually pay their taxes. We urge Maine’s Congressional delegation to vote for it immediately.”
“We applaud this bill’s urgently needed climate and energy investments. For the first time, state and local governments can benefit from these incentives, which means that our critical community infrastructure — public schools, post offices, libraries, fire stations, and office buildings — can get the investments they deserve and lead by example,” said Frances Eanes, Executive Director of the Maine Labor Climate Council. “The fact that most of these investments come with labor standards that encourage high-quality jobs shows that building a clean energy economy doesn’t have to come on the backs of working people.”
“As it currently stands, this bill makes real gains for working people in and beyond Maine,” said Cynthia Phinney, Maine AFL-CIO President. “Lowering prescription drug costs and extending healthcare subsidies will benefit thousands of Maine seniors and working families, while ensuring that corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share. Most importantly, this bill makes historic investments to tackle the climate crisis, lower out-of-control energy costs, and reinvest in workers and communities most affected by this economic transition. We have an enormous amount of work to do to ensure a fair and timely transition to clean energy and affordable healthcare for all. But this bill is a meaningful down payment, and we urge Congress to get it passed and signed into law.”
“Right now, Mainers with low incomes are struggling with expenses like healthcare, gas, and heating oil while wealthy corporations are recording record profits,” said James Myall, Economic Policy Analyst at the Maine Center for Economic Policy. “This proposal will confront rising costs by closing tax loopholes abused by wealthy households and corporations and putting that money toward helping everyday workers and families make ends meet.”
“People in Maine who are struggling with health costs can celebrate that this package includes lower prescription drug prices and out-of-pocket costs, plus expanded tax credits for buying insurance through the ACA Marketplace,” said Kathy Kilrain del Rio, Advocacy & Programs Director at Maine Equal Justice. “This bill makes excellent progress, and we urge our federal delegation to support it. Mainers will also be looking to Congress to pass legislation in the future that includes the critical Medicaid expansion for states that have not yet closed the coverage gap and extending the enhanced child tax credits that have been such a lifeline for our families and our economy.”