BREAKING: Shaheen Helps Senate Pass Historic Legislation to Reduce Inflation & Prioritize Middle-Class Families
**Bill includes historic action on climate, including energy efficiency measures championed by Shaheen**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes historic investments to extend key health care premium tax credits, lower the cost of prescription drugs, address the surging costs of insulin, combat climate change, prioritize sustainable energy efficiency solutions, level the playing field by making corporations pay their fair share in taxes and much more.
"Senate Democrats just delivered a historic bill that makes good on fundamental needs impacting communities in New Hampshire and across the nation. Our legislation lowers the costs of prescription drugs, makes record investments to combat climate change, imposes rules on corporations to pay their fair share and most critically: will directly address the financial strain millions are facing due to inflation. This is a win for American families,” said Shaheen. “Among the many priorities that will help Granite Staters, I’m most proud of my provisions to extend crucial ACA premium tax credits, as well as overdue action to lower the surging costs of insulin. I’m pleased we made important progress to help Americans with diabetes today, but our work to address the full scope of costs that unfairly affect insulin users doesn’t end here – this is only the beginning. Republican obstruction to cap the costs of insulin on private insurers was a missed opportunity and underscores the need for my legislation, the INSULIN Act.”
Shaheen concluded, “The significant reforms in this bill, including the meaningful investments I fought for on energy efficiency and the forestry economy, will make a real difference in the lives of Granite Staters. I’m excited to see the House move swiftly to finish what we’ve started.”
Specific Shaheen Priorities Include:
Extension of Affordable Care Act (ACA) Premium Tax Credits: Senator Shaheen worked to successfully extend the authorization of the ACA’s enhanced premium tax credits, which are due to expire at the end of this year. Shaheen originally included the ACA subsidies in the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law last year and has led the push in Congress to make extending these tax credits a priority. Her efforts to twice successfully address this are based on her standalone legislation – the Improving Health Insource Affordability Act.
Lower Prescription Drug Prices and Curb Cost of Rising Insulin: Shaheen supported the inclusion of measures that will empower the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices, including the price of insulin. The legislation would also cap out-of-pocket expenses for patients covered under Medicare Part D. Moreover, the bill will further cap out-of-pocket costs for patients with diabetes by ensuring that Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage health plans limit copays or coinsurance to no more than $35 per month, 25% of list price, or 25% of the negotiated price.
Senator Shaheen leads action in the U.S. Senate to advance priorities that will lower the costs of insulin, invest in treatment and prioritize diabetes research. Shaheen is co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Diabetes Caucus with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), and together, the Senators lead the Improving Needed Safeguards for Users of Lifesaving Insulin Now (INSULIN) Act. The Senators’ bipartisan proposal builds on their years-long work to reduce the costs of insulin, increasing measures to encourage insulin manufacturers to reduce list prices, while extending patient protections that will foster competition and broader access to desperately needed insulin products.
Key Energy Efficiency Measures: Shaheen supported the inclusion of $1 billion for building energy code adoption, which is a key focus of her long championed, hallmark energy efficiency bill – the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESIC). Shaheen leads the bipartisan bill with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), and together, the Senators have successfully worked to include the majority of their bill in other pieces of legislation that have been signed into law over the years. A targeted version of their bill was signed into law by President Obama in 2015, and a number of provisions relating to energy efficiency in schools, industry and the federal government were signed into law as part of the Energy Act of 2020. In addition, major provisions were also included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was signed into law in November.
Energy Rebates for Working Families: Senator Shaheen supported $9 billion for home energy rebate programs that benefit middle-class families, of which $4.3 billion will go toward the HOPE for HOMES program to provide rebates for home energy efficiency retrofits and worker training. Shaheen is a leader in the Senate for investing in energy efficiency policies, which both support working families and combat the effects of climate change. In December, Shaheen authored an op-ed for the Concord Monitor slamming the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) decision to reject a popular energy efficiency plan that funds NH Saves, an award winning energy efficiency program. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen has consistently secured robust funding for energy efficiency programs. In Democrats’ government funding proposal released last week, Shaheen announced $1 billion for energy efficiency programs at the Department of Energy that support weatherization, state energy programs, building efficiency, advanced manufacturing, energy savings in the federal government and more.
Investments in NH’s Forest-Based Economy: Senator Shaheen helped secure $700 million for competitive grants to states through the Forest Legacy Program to acquire land or easements, with priority given to grant applications that offer significant natural carbon sequestration benefits or provide benefits to underserved populations. The bill also includes several competitive grant programs for non-federal forest landowners, including $50 million for grants to states and other entities to provide payments to owners of private forest land for implementation of forestry practices that provide measurable increases in carbon sequestration or storage. This is in line with the aim of Shaheen’s standalone bipartisan legislation with Senator Capito (R-WV), the Forest Incentives Program Act, which helps landowners make forest management more affordable and provide them with sustainable options to preserve their land.
Senator Shaheen has long advocated for America’s forests and initiatives that would create markets for low-grade wood as a renewable energy fuel. In the fiscal year 2022 government funding bill signed into law, Shaheen championed the Community Wood Energy program and helped secure $4.5 million to assist communities recovering from biomass plant closures. Shaheen also co-led bipartisan legislation with Senator Collins – the Community Wood Energy Innovation Act – which was included in the Farm bill signed into law in 2018. Their bipartisan bill expanded eligibility for Community Wood Energy Program (CWEP), incentivizes investments in energy-efficient wood energy systems and supports facilities that repurpose low-grade, low-value wood that would otherwise be sent to landfills.
Additional New Hampshire and National Priorities Supported by Shaheen Include:
Historic Action on Climate: The Inflation Reduction Act contains historic measures to combat climate change. This includes, but is not limited to, long-term, transformative incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy in the tax code, as well as provisions that would reduce methane from the oil and gas industry, support green banks, improve climate resilience of affordable housing and water efficiency, provide robust support for the Rural Energy for America Program, and make available grants to manufacture clean vehicles, prioritize climate justice, reduce air pollution and much more.
Resources to Improve IRS Compliance and Taxpayer Services: The Inflation Reduction Act includes funding to improve processes at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to better serve taxpayers filing their tax returns. These resources will go toward taxpayer services, operations and support, and for systems modernization. These reforms will help address systemic issues at the IRS to ensure Granite Staters and all Americans receive their tax returns and information in a more timely, responsive manner. Shaheen has continuously called for the IRS to institute additional actions to address the backlog of unprocessed tax returns. In a February letter sent to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, Shaheen and her colleagues highlighted the pressing challenges that American taxpayers are experiencing in their day-to-day interactions with the IRS — with many constituents still waiting on their 2020 tax refunds. They pressed the agency to take new actions that can reduce the existing backlog and improve customer service.