BALTIMORE —Federal, state and local Democratic lawmakers gathered in Baltimore along with activists, faith leaders and community members to rally for the Inflation Reduction Act ahead of a vote in the House.
Republicans said the bill will lead to a tax increase and decry the lack of key security funding while Democrats are calling it a landmark measure that will change millions of lives for the better.
The August recess began with a celebration for Maryland’s U.S. senators.
“It’s been a long and winding road, but the Inflation Reduction Act is almost at the White House door,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland.
Lawmakers said the measure empowers Medicare to negotiate drug prices, caps out-of-pocket costs for Medicare patients and includes major action on climate change.
“This is huge to be able to reduce our carbon emissions by 40% by the end of this decade,” said U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland.
The Democrats’ main message was that this bill is a game changer that will reduce the cost of living and improve the lives of millions of Marylanders.
“These incentives will also make energy more affordable for families across our nation, which means less of that monthly budget going to utility costs,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said.
“We know that pollution has drastically, disproportionately impacted low-income communities of color when we talk about asthma rates, when we talk about flooding that we’ve experienced right here in Baltimore City,” said Joshua Harris, vice president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP. “This will work to make sure that we’re impacting those communities positively, and the economic impact is tremendous.”
The event included a host of state and local Democratic lawmakers, many of whom are on the ballot in November. So, time at the microphone represented a chance to highlight Democratic legislative victories and promises kept — though some cautioned that much work lies ahead.
“Half of this bill are competitive grants, right? Making, setting up a process so that Maryland and states like us are positioned to make sure that we can apply for and win those grants,” said state Delegate Brooke Lierman, a Democrat who’s running for state comptroller.
Maryland’s sole Republican member of Congress, U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-District 1, said he’s voting against the bill Thursday, explaining in an e-mail that the bill “provides $80 billion in funding for 87,000 additional (Internal Revenue Service) agents while providing zero border-security funding for zero additional border security agents. This bill also raises taxes on millions of Americans, and as many studies have shown, actually adds to inflation. I will vote no on this bill.”