Hakeem Jeffries (center) stated during his speech introducing President Joe Biden (left) that a significant amount was invested in addressing the climate crisis with the goal of improving access to clean water, clean air, and clean energy in every community. The two were joined on stage by Pete Aguilar (right).
By Emma Dumain
complained about the White House’s support for some fossil fuel projects — adding to Democrats’ burdens in an election year marked by
grumbling over the economy,
fights over border policy and the president’s low approval ratings.
According to Representative Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.), the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, simply discussing this point will not be enough to motivate people to vote. Democrats must instead emphasize the impact that the Inflation Reduction Act’s climate benefits would have on individuals’ finances.
The key is how you communicate it to voters. When discussing climate change in Latino communities, it may seem abstract to them,” she explained to POLITICO’s E&E News, reiterating the points she made during a press conference with members of the Hispanic Caucus earlier that day.
When discussing the potential savings of billions of dollars on energy, it is important to explain how it will directly affect individuals. For example, mentioning the possibility of receiving a new refrigerator and reducing energy usage can make the concept more tangible for people.
In the end, she stated that individuals are not experiencing some of the advantages of our passed policies because they have not yet taken effect.
There is a genuine feeling of immediate need.
The Inflation Reduction Act has already produced tangible results in various areas across the nation. Red districts are reaping the benefits of the green manufacturing boom, just like blue districts.
A recent report from the nonprofit organization Climate Power stated that 200 out of the 388 clean energy projects that have been implemented since the climate law was passed are located in congressional districts currently represented by Republicans. POLITICO’s analysis of spending caused by the law has also revealed similar results.
In some cases, Republicans have tried to claim recognition for the triumph of a bill they strongly opposed. They have attended ceremonies and ceremonies for green energy initiatives in their regions without acknowledging that these investments are a direct outcome of a law that GOP legislators have repeatedly attempted to weaken through proposed laws.
Although some Republicans express support for certain energy tax credits, the majority of the GOP has criticized the bill as excessive government funding that could lead to an increase in inflation. Some have even stated that they would be willing to repeal the entire law, potentially putting local projects in jeopardy.
Biden and other Democrats stated on Thursday that it is essential to confront this storyline during their political campaigns.
Currently, although numerous clean energy tax credits established by the IRA have been implemented, such as those for solar panels and electric vehicles, state energy offices are still working on implementing rebate programs to make these credits available to consumers. In several instances, the Treasury has not given direction and the required regulations for these new programs to be enforced are still pending.
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), one of Congress’ most outspoken advocates for addressing climate change, expressed a strong urgency to continue implementing these investments and policies without bureaucratic delays and red tape.
One factor that caused my frustration was the delayed implementation of DOE’s heat pump incentives, which are in the form of rebates. This means that individuals will not have the opportunity to receive these rebates before the election.
Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland and former leader in the House, is currently leading the Regional Leadership Council. This council’s main focus is to educate members on the implementation of IRAs. During his visit to Leesburg, he brought printed fact sheets on IRA benefits that were customized for each district.
The documents contain information specific to each district regarding high-speed internet, healthcare savings, insulin cost caps, airports, and veterans. However, they do not provide members with comparable statistics about the potential clean energy incentives that their constituents may receive in the near future.
“Undoubtedly, energy is incredibly significant,” stated Hoyer during an interview on Thursday. “One way to frame it is by saying, ‘We are acknowledging your contribution, which could result in a $7,500 benefit for you when purchasing an electric car.'”
He recognized, however, that explaining IRA successes to voters is typically more challenging and less visible, as some of the benefits have not been put into effect yet: “It’s a longer-term process, unlike the immediate impact of insulin prices dropping to $35.”
High-ranking leaders discuss execution of
Hoyer stated that it is the responsibility of Democrats to effectively convey the positive outcome of our actions, as this election is not solely about praise but rather focuses on our plans for the future.
On Friday morning, he led a discussion about communicating the implementation of IRAs with Pete Buttigieg, the Secretary of Transportation; Wally Adeyemo, the Deputy Secretary of Treasury; Natalie Quillian, the Deputy Chief of Staff at the White House; and Jigar Shah, the Director of the Loans Program Office at the Department of Energy.
The current focus of the issues conference is “finish the job,” and Democrats are actively working on innovative methods to illustrate to voters that the legislation they supported in 2022 will soon yield tangible benefits and save money in their daily lives.
Representative Steven Horsford, a Democrat from Nevada who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, stated that he was communicating with voters about IRA gains through the faith community. He discussed a recent meeting he held at a Black church in his district to discuss the significant climate law. He also encouraged other members of the Black Caucus to follow suit in their own districts.
Horsford stated that it is important to ensure that those who will gain the most, specifically underserved minorities and communities of color, are aware of and know how to access the benefits.
Representative Darren Soto, a Democrat from Florida and vice chair for policy of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, stated that his attention is directed towards the current situation on the ground. This includes the effects of the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as the infrastructure law and the CHIPS and Science Act, which were both passed by Democrats during the 117th Congress. These measures have resulted in economic and job growth while also contributing to environmental improvements.
He stated to E&E News that he would invite you to search for a member of the Democratic Caucus who does not have any projects in their district relating to infrastructure, the IRA, or CHIPS Act. He has not encountered a member who has no such projects, but if they do exist, they should discuss their plans for obtaining them.
According to Soto, Republicans are trying to take credit for voting against bills, but he does not acknowledge their role in the bipartisan infrastructure law in Florida as no Florida Republicans voted for it. He refuses to use the term “bipartisan” when discussing the law because he believes Republicans do not deserve any credit for its passing.