THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, folks. I’m here with leaders of some of America’s largest corporations and labor organizations: Kaiser Permanente, General Motors, Cummins, Carrier, Ameren, you know, the United Auto Workers, the AFL-CIO.
They are all here because they believe the Inflation Reduction Act meets the needs of working families now and what our economy needs now for stronger, sustained economic growth in the years ahead.
Let me tell you a few things about what this bill does.
First, it will lower health care costs for millions of Americans who buy coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and freeze health care prices, saving 13 million people an average of $800 a year.
This comes on top of the news that we have the lowest percentage of Americans who are uninsured than ever before in our history thanks to the Affordable Care Act, as well as the American bailout plan that I signed into law last year, which saved families on average. $240 [sic] – $2,400 in premiums. $2,400 in premiums.
The Inflation Reduction Act will also deliver on a promise Washington has made for years: giving Medicare the power to negotiate prescription drug prices.
This bill will save the American people and Medicare hundreds of billions of dollars. It will cap the amount of money seniors pay for prescription drugs to $2,000 a year – period – whether it’s for cancer or for other illnesses and the treatments they need. Maximum $2,000 a year.
That is a godsend for so many families.
Second, we will invest $369 billion to address the climate crisis and lower family energy bills by an average of $500 a year. We will ensure this – by offering working families rebates to buy new and efficient appliances to brighten up their homes, and tax credits for everything from heat pumps to rooftop solar to wind energy.
It also provides tax credits to spur the construction of energy projects across America—projects that deliver new, clean energy and strengthen our nation’s grid.
We also – it will – there are also manufacturing tax credits also in this bi- – in this bill to make products like solar panels, wind turbines, battery storage – do it right here in the United States of America.
And this will create thousands of good paying jobs, learning opportunities, and manufacturing jobs for clean energy construction projects, solar projects, wind projects, clean hydrogen projects, carbon capture projects, and so much more.
And along with the CHIPS and SCIENCE Act, which I will sign into law next week, the Inflation Reduction Act will mean we are making the largest investment ever in clean energy and American energy security—the largest in our history. It will be the largest investment in American manufacturing – even in American manufacturing.
With me today are the CEOs of some of America’s most iconic manufacturing companies and the union leaders who represent America’s manufacturing workers.
They see — they see, as already, because of our work over the last 18 months, American manufacturing is coming back stronger than ever. Where is it written that America cannot lead in manufacturing in the world? Six hundred and thirteen thousand manufacturing jobs created just since I took office – the most created in three decades.
And with the investments in this bill, we will overrun that recovery; making sure that the manufacturing, innovation and jobs that come from this bill are made in America.
And third, this bill will reduce the deficit by $300 billion. That’s over the record $1.7 trillion we’re on track to reduce the deficit just this year — this fiscal year.
And we will help pay for the critical needs of working families in our economy by asking companies that make more than $1 billion a year to pay a minimum tax of 15 percent. That’s less than a teacher’s and a–and an autoworker’s salary.
Let me be clear: Despite what some people say, the Inflation Reduction Act makes sure that no one making less than $400,000 pays a penny more in federal taxes, despite all those ads you see on television.
But don’t take my word for it. Nearly 130 economists, 7 Nobel laureates in economics, former – former Treasury secretaries, the Federal Reserve vice president, former director of the Congressional Budget Office wrote that this bill, quote, “fight inflation and lower costs for American families while setting the stage for strong , stable and broadly shared long-term economic growth End of quote.
So, you know, look at the facts.
So let me close with this: The Inflation Reduction Act lowers prescription drug prices, lowers health insurance premiums, invests in clean energy that creates jobs and economic opportunities for business and labor. It reduces the deficit and makes sound reforms to our corporate tax law. These are the facts.
One more thing. The Inflation Reduction Act has bipartisan support among the people of this country.
Look at the poll data: The vast majority of people in America support what is in the Inflation Reduction Act.
So my message to Congress is this: Listen to the American people.
This is the strongest bill you can make to reduce inflation, continue to reduce the deficit, reduce health care costs, address the climate crisis, and advance America’s energy security, all while reducing the burden on workers. – in middle class families.
Pass it. Give it and put it on my desk. Pass it on to the American people. Fit it for businesses and workers. Pass it for America.
I will stop here and turn this over to Brian Deese to begin the meeting.
But thank you. And thank you all for participating in this meeting. I really appreciate it.
MR. DEESE: Thank you, Mr. President. And let me thank you all for joining us and for offering your perspective today. I just want to – we’ll start right away and ask Jennifer, you, to start us off.
First of all, congratulations on the – the new role, and would really appreciate your perspective on – on the – of the manufacturing lens. Cummins, obviously iconic and long serving American manufacturing company. And I’m told – you can confirm if this is true – that half the diesel trucks on US highways today are powered by Cummins – Cummins engines.
And so we’d really like to start with your perspective on how this legislation, as well as the other efforts we’re working on, will affect your thinking about how you can grow American manufacturing and, importantly, stay on the cutting edge of manufacturing innovation here.
MS. RUMSEY: Great. Well, thank you – thank you, Brian. And thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity to be here today and to support the Inflation Reduction Act and especially the clean technology focus in that — that bill.
As you know, Cummins is a global power leader. We are headquartered in Columbus, Indiana, and we employ more than 26,000 people in the United States. In fact, we increased that number by several thousand yesterday when we completed our acquisition of Meritor.
And we offer power solutions for a wide range of applications. As you said, Brian, we are best known for supplying diesel engines and trucks. And almost every truck on the road has either a Cummins engine or a Cummins component on another engine.
We also offer a wide range of other power solutions, including construction, agricultural equipment; Power generation, including backup power for hospitals, data centers, even the Statue of Liberty.
And, Mr. President, I thought you might be interested to know that we also provide the locomotive engines for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.
We have a long history of ensuring that everything we do leads to a cleaner, healthier and safer environment. We have set an environmental sustainability goal that by 2050 all Cummins products, our operations and facilities will achieve carbon neutrality. And that is aligned with the Paris climate agreement and the US’s own carbon reduction goals.
And we really believe that we can do things that are good for the environment and for our customers and our business. Decarbonization is critical.
I read the news almost every day now that talks about record temperatures, wildfires in the West, floods in Kentucky. Climate change is real, and we have a responsibility to address it. And we have an opportunity to leverage that for growth in our business and for strengthening — strengthening America’s innovation and competitiveness.
To do that and have the greatest impact and help our customers as we make this transition, creating good paying American jobs, we need the right policies and incentives for infrastructure development and the deployment of new and improved technologies. And many of the market-based incentives that we think are needed are included in the Inflation Reduction Act.
We think that the comprehensive range of energy provisions – from power generation to transport to hydrogen production – are all important pieces of the decarbonisation puzzle, and they are important to ensure that we achieve wells-to-wheels decarbonisation in hard-to-reduce – hard-to-abate sectors such as , that we serve.
The tax credits for low-carbon fuel production, including renewable natural gas and renewable diesel fuel, are necessary. These alternative fuels can reduce NOx and carbon emissions in many vehicles already in use.
For new trucks, the 30 percent investment tax credit included for low and carbon trucks and their respective charging and fueling infrastructure are critical to helping fleets afford newer technologies, such as hybrid and battery and fuel cell powered vehicles, as we continue to advance and scale. these technologies and make them more cost competitive, and ensure our customers are successful in their businesses as well.
The clean hydrogen production credit is essential to create a robust domestic hydrogen economy so that we can compete with Europe and East Asia, which are focused on doing so today.
And finally, we think that tax incentives for fuel cells, energy storage and microgrids will help accelerate more efficient solutions for stationary power.
So we think these provisions will make these new and low-carbon technologies more affordable, accelerating infrastructure development and deployment throughout the economy. And by reducing some of the cost gap between traditional power and these newer solutions, we can make them viable – viability and make them a reality.
So thanks again for the opportunity to be here and support the Inflation Reduction Act, which is good for the economy and the environment.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you. Is it okay if I ask a question, Brian? (Laughs.)
MR. DEESE: Of course, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, first of all you took me on Amtrak back and forth to Wilmington, Delaware, to Washington, DC for a long time. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Look, where are we going to make a big investment in clean technology manufacturing facilities, like the facilities that make electric vehicles — how important is that investment going to be in expanding the electric vehicle supply chain? Because it seems to me that’s – that’s one of the – I think everybody’s looking to do that. We seem – I think we have tremendous opportunities here.
MS. RUMSEY: Yes, I agree, Mr. – Mr. President. There is a lot of work to expand these supply chains, to expand the infrastructure, to move to these new and different types of fuel and technology. And we see a significant opportunity to increase US manufacturing capacity and grow jobs here in all these different technologies that support our strategy – Destination Zero – to decarbonize our industry.
So we’re excited about the opportunity to bring some of these solutions here to the United States, to export these technologies globally, to increase America’s economic competitiveness, as we — as we focus on this.
And Cummins has done this before. We actually made diesel technology viable for commercial truck applications. And we see the Inflation Reduction Act as one key piece to accelerate our journey and truly translate our applications to technologies of the future such as battery, fuel cell, electric and green hydrogen.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think you can do it. I really. And I hope this is as helpful as we think it is, because you are always in the forefront here.
And, you know, the idea — and it just — we — I always try to remind people, and I don’t think I have to remind anybody — on Zoom — that there’s not a damn thing we can’t do can if we put our minds to it. We have never failed to break through, no matter what – I mean, in the last hundred years.
And I think that’s a huge opportunity to keep a healthier environment, a cleaner environment, a cheaper environment for people.
And – in any case, I – I’m really optimistic. And I want to thank you very much, Jennifer, for being willing to talk to us about this. Because we will talk –
THE PRESIDENT: If this happens, we will talk a lot more. (Laughs.)
MS. RUMSEY: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
MR. DEESE: So, Mr. Chairman, I wanted to ask – we’re going from heavy commercial to light vehicles.
And, Mary, thank you for being here. And just wanted to get your perspective on, you know, broadly, the automotive sector and the manufacturing opportunities that you see here, and how this bill and the other things that we’re going to be working on — your perspective on where we can take the sector here in Country.
THE PRESIDENT: Am I dumb?
MS. BARRA: Great. Well, Brian, thank you. And, Mr. President, thank you too. Today I am at one of –
THE PRESIDENT: Hey, Mary, by the way—
MS. BARRA: — our manufacturing facility- —
THE PRESIDENT: — we owe you a lot. You started it all. I remember our conversation.
THE PRESIDENT: No, I’m serious. I’m serious.
MS. BARRA: Yeah, well – well, we’re working hard. And I’m in one of our manufacturing facilities in Ohio today. And I am very pleased to participate on behalf of GM and to have the opportunity to add GM’s voice in support of the Inflation Reduction Act as currently proposed.
And, Mr. President, I also want to thank you for your leadership. Your engagement with congressional leaders and a wide range of stakeholders over the past year, I believe, has really helped us get to this point.
At GM, we believe we are at an inflection point and that if we take these steps, we will create a much brighter future for America.
You know, when we talked about the transition to an all-electric future, Mr. President, you saw what General Motors saw and continues to do. And it’s the opportunity to create and maintain good-paying American jobs and the opportunity for America to lead in electrification and innovation.
General Motors is (inaudible) — we’ve already announced historic investments in the United States. This bill will help drive further investment in American manufacturing and sustainable, scalable and secure supply chains. And all that – all that comes with that is a stronger economy and job growth.
So we also deeply appreciate the inclusion of the EV provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act. While some of the goals cannot be achieved overnight, we are confident that the significant investments GM is making in manufacturing, in the workforce, in our infrastructure, in the supply chain, and in clean energy will position the United States as a global leader establish today and into the future.
So thank you again for the opportunity to support our support for the inflation-reduction act.
And I just wanted to bring Liz, you, here too. You said recently that this bill was — your — your focus here was on real solutions for working families, and I hope you can give us your perspective from the — kind of, the grassroots view, of the families and workers that you’re talking to and engage in how to align this legislation with their needs and priorities.
MS. SHULER: Absolutely. Thank you Brian.
Hello, everyone. I also want to start by thanking President Biden and the administration for your commitment to American manufacturing and, of course, for inviting us to be a part of this conversation today.
I think it’s a great mix of labor and business people, and it shows how important and historic the Inflation Reduction Act is.
And I bring the voice of our 57 unions, 12.5 million members, who believe this bill will help us reshape the future and provide real help to working families by reducing rising energy and health care costs becomes
And when I talk to working people on the street, they are worried about making ends meet. And so these steps to reduce health care costs, you know, especially the high cost of prescription drugs; invest in our clean energy future; address our broken tax code – this will deliver fundamental economic change across America.
And by the way, asking the top 150 or so companies to start paying their fair share of taxes is music to our ears.
And let’s just be clear: Asking 150 of the largest, most profitable companies to pay a minimum of 15 percent in taxes will not hurt manufacturing investment in the United States. In fact, much of the revenue created by this tax would come from companies that have historically dodged taxes by manufacturing overseas.
So, our members are especially excited about the historic clean energy investment that this bill would make because, as I said, it will create millions of good jobs for working people and reduce climate pollution by 40 percent.
So this is what we need to jumpstart the clean energy transition, address the climate crisis, make clean energy more accessible and affordable. And these investments would actually reduce the cost of clean energy in the home by over a third. And so this will be a game changer for consumers.
But we also have to look at the other side of the coin, and – and this bill does that by keeping the workers who make that future possible front and center. And it will not only direct investment to underserved communities, it will also ensure that high labor standards and high environmental standards can go hand in hand, and it shows. It is not a choice; we can do both.
And so including the labor standards, the content requirements about the tax incentives, that will create good paying jobs in construction, manufacturing, here in America.
Obviously, the prevailing wage and salary provisions will ensure that these investments not only strengthen the environment, but strengthen our economy and the middle class.
And so we create lasting change that working families need. So, I would just say that this is a — we see this bill as a big step forward. It will improve the lives of working people. It will improve lives for seniors trying to pay their prescriptions, children who will have a healthier planet to live on.
So we are united in support for this legislation. We urge Congress to move quickly to get it signed into law. Give it to the president to sign.
THE PRESIDENT: Hey, Liz, thanks. And Mary. You guys are one hell of a team – what’s going on.
You know, one of the things that – and you’ve heard me say this before: My father used to have an expression. He would say, “A job is about much more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s being able to look your child in the eye and say, ‘It’s going to be okay. It’s going to be good.’
The only way we can do that for American workers is to make sure we continue to grow and create good-paying jobs. And that’s what you’re doing, and that’s what the AFL-CIO is doing with Liz, is to make sure that we can talk about the impact that this relief is going to have on American workers.
In addition to – and, by the way, I’m looking at a map here, reminding me that it will reduce energy costs and open an average of $500 annually in energy savings; 30 percent tax credit for home energy systems such as roof and solar energy and efficient windows; $7,500 tax credit for new electric vehicles and $4,000 tax credit for used ones; $14,000 in consumer rebates for high-efficiency appliances, such as electric heat pumps.
It will do an awful lot about what the overall stake is here to lower inflation.
And, you know, in addition to the new jobs that it creates in this bill, the Inflation Reduction Act will also bring down energy and health care costs for all Americans, and that will affect – on – this relief it will have on American workers is real.
Liz, are your people talking about this? Are we talking about how it’s actually going to reduce, you know, health care costs, prescription drug costs, etc.
MS. SHULER: Absolutely, Mr. President. I would say that’s what’s most on people’s minds is, you know, can they afford to pay their health care premiums; can they afford to put food on the table for their families.
And so bringing down the cost to workers is exactly what we need at this moment, and that’s what this bill does.
And that’s why I know Ray Curry is here with me. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do, is get the message out there. Because as you know, there is often a disconnect in what happens in Washington with what happens at the grassroots and community level. So that’s our job as, you know, leaders in the labor movement and to work with our members and working people every day to make sure that people recognize what this bill is going to do and — to see the impact in their — in their communities in their wallets.
THE PRESIDENT: And, Mary, I think what General Motors is doing is absolutely amazing. Your commitment to move towards – towards clean energy and commitment to electric vehicles, about being able to reach the international standard 2050, etc. And you will do it before then.
And I just think that General Motors is — can play a gigantic role, and other companies around the world will follow, because you’re going to lead the world.
One of the things I did, I have to admit in full disclosure: I talked to the president about the possibility of me buying one of those Corvettes, which are electric vehicles that – you know, when they come out. And I won’t be able to do it because I can’t drive a vehicle while I’m vice president — while I’m president any more than I could when I was vice president.
But I think we can change the face of the country with this legislation and reduce inflation, not increase it.
Mary, do you have any final comments you would like to make?
MS. BARRA: Just that, Mr. President, I totally agree with you. I couldn’t be more excited about the EV portfolio that General Motors is in the midst of launching. Our first battery plant is coming online in a few weeks in Ohio. We have another plant next year and the year after, both in the United States – and we are ready to announce our fourth – as well as converting plants and making sure that we maintain and grow the jobs that we have in have this country.
So, you know, it happens. We are now at this critical juncture. And I think this inflation reduction bill will be part of the catalyst that will help us move forward.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you do one heck of a job. I really mean it. I want to thank you very much.
I know there are – more people who want to talk, and we will have more. But I — I just can’t tell you how much I think you’ve collectively moved — this whole movement to get to clean energy, to create jobs — jobs that increase environmental protection, and everything from lowering drug prices, is important.
This is one of those inflection points in history. And you’re all at–at the top of it, all of you on the screen. We haven’t even gotten to most of you yet.
But again, thank you both very, very much. Appreciate it.
MR. DEESE: And, Mr. Chairman, also on the topic of drug prices and also health prices, I wanted to bring in Greg Adams.
And you’re now actively serving, I think, 12 million patients and — and close to 2 million Medicare beneficiaries. And so we’d like your perspective on the health care elements of this, especially in light of what both the president and Liz Shuler said are top of people’s minds — health care prices, drug prices. And – and I want to get your perspective.
MR. ADAMS: Thank you, Brian. And thank you, Mr. President. I join my colleagues in saying that it is a pleasure to be here today, to have the opportunity to discuss the importance and urgency of the Inflation Reduction Act.
We see this important piece of legislation as critical to helping millions of Americans continue to have access to affordable health coverage. And it starts to fight the unsustainable drug prices. And, of course, as you have heard, it addresses climate change.
At the heart of Kaiser Permanente’s mission is a belief that all people deserve access to high-quality, affordable healthcare. Millions of Americans will benefit from the extension of subsidies from the expanded Affordable Care Act through 2025, which will continue to make healthcare and coverage more available and affordable for our people.
Since the release of the expanded grants, marketplace enrollment has reached an all-time high of 14.5 million people nationwide. And premiums became more affordable – or as premiums became more affordable, millions of Americans saw access to zero-dollar plans and low-cost plans or premiums of less than $50 per month.
These extended subsidies have expired, so this legislation is just in time for millions of Americans.
At Kaiser Permanente, we are deeply concerned about the burden that high drug prices place on our members, on whose behalf we purchase over $10 billion in drugs each year and we prescribe more than 90 million prescriptions each year.
So while we believe it is essential to ensure that drug manufacturers are appropriately rewarded for delivering true innovation, it must be done in a sustainable manner and not just allow the highest possible price.
The target approach here achieves an appropriate balance of these concerns. And the Medicare Part D changes protect seniors from the risk of very high drug costs and ensure that more seniors have the ability to access and actually take the prescribed medications.
Finally, I also note that – the enormous impact on climate change. Climate change is real. It is here. And it is an issue for us, as healthcare providers, because it disproportionately affects socially disadvantaged communities.
So as one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plans and nursing care systems, each of these issues has a direct impact on our members, our patients, and our communities, and is critical to our ability to carry out our mission. to provide high-quality, affordable care, and to ensure that we help improve the health of the communities that we – that we are with and that we serve.
So we join our colleagues in encouraging Congress to act without delay to bring the benefits of this important legislation to the American people.
THE PRESIDENT: Brian, you will—
THE PRESIDENT: I have a question, except you — why don’t you go ahead first?
MR. DEESE: Well, Mr. Chairman, I wanted to — I just wanted to turn briefly before we get to our other speakers, just to ask Secretary Yellen to offer —
THE PRESIDENT: Before you do, can I ask a question?
THE PRESIDENT: I would like to ask a question. First of all, Greg, thank you very much. You – it’s amazing the number of people you serve every day. And one of the goals of this bill is to keep drug prices in — while still allowing drug manufacturers to be appropriately rewarded and to provide for real innovation.
Do you think so – do you think this strikes that balance of the two? Because, look, the last thing I want to do is – I don’t want to see that there’s a disincentive for drug companies to not look for answers to some of the diseases that they’re trying to deal with. And so they have to be compensated, but they are being compensated incredibly well now. And — and from my perspective, I don’t think this is going to upset the balance of a significant profit while providing breakthroughs and innovation. What is your sense of it?
MR. ADAMS: Yes, thank you, Mr. President. I do – I think it keeps the balance. The bill addresses the high cost of specialty drugs. Specialty drugs are a key component of high drug costs. They actually account for a small percentage of prescriptions, but they are now at a point where they account for over half of our pharmacy costs, which affects the entire population.
So the bill looks at a limited number of specialty drugs, actually calls for a negotiation of prices at a point after these drugs have been on the market.
I, as CEO of Kaiser Permanente, will still be responsible and committed to using market forces to keep the majority of other drugs affordable and accessible. So I don’t see that as interference. I think it carefully strikes the balance that is needed.
So I think the answer to your question is: Yes, I think the balance is here, and I think there’s a lot of room for innovation and for market forces to play.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Brian, back to you.
MR. DEESE: Great. Thank you, Mr. President.
And before we get to Ray and David and Warner, I just wanted to ask Secretary Yellen to zoom out for just a minute and give us your — your view of the overall economy, especially as we find ourselves in the — in the recovery find
SECRETARY YELLEN: Thank you, Brian. And thank you, Mr. President. I’m really excited to be here today to talk to leaders from both business and labor about how important it is for Congress to pass the Inflation Reduction Act.
In fact, yesterday I convened business leaders to discuss this important piece of legislation. It will address the cost of prescription drugs and healthcare for millions of Americans, lower energy costs, strengthen our energy security so we don’t have to rely on autocrats like Putin.
This would be the largest investment in the fight against climate change in the history of our country. And this will not only protect us from global energy shocks, as we have seen from the illegal invasion of Russia. It will also create good paying jobs across our country to do this work.
I also think it’s important to talk about the income streams that make these investments possible. And that means adequately funding the Internal Revenue Service so that they can enforce our existing tax laws.
The vast majority of companies and workers are game – are playing by the rules, but some are not. And estimates show that the tax gap of the top 1 percent of earners alone is as much as $160 billion each year. Making sure we have the resources to make sure the wealthiest among us don’t avoid paying the taxes they owe is about restoring basic fairness and ending a two-tier system. It’s about making sure we can invest in tackling these key household costs and making our economy stronger.
I think it is important to emphasize that this legislation is fiscally responsible. It will actually reduce the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars over time. And by reducing deficits, we will complement the work the Federal Reserve and the administration are doing to fight inflation, even as we address cost pressures such as health care, prescription drugs, and energy.
So that’s why I hope Congress passes this bill as soon as possible. And it’s why you saw five of my Treasury Department predecessors — secretaries who served under Democrats and under Republicans — call for the same thing this week.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Janet.
MR. DEESE: Thank you. Thank you, Janet.
And, Mr. President, we will conclude the open press portion of this event and move here to the next section.