Inflation Reduction Act Passes Senate

And a comment on news coverage of the passage.

The Inflation Reduction Act has passed the US Senate 51-50 yesterday afternoon as per WaPo: Senate approves Inflation Reduction Act, clinching long-delayed health and climate bill.

With a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Harris, the 50-50 Senate sent the bill to the House, which aims to approve it and send it to the White House for Biden’s signature later this week.

This was after 20ish hours of debate and votes on amendments.

A good run-down of the bill can be found in the NYT: What’s in the Climate, Tax and Health Care Package and also via CNN: What’s in the Manchin-Schumer deal on climate, health care and taxes.

I think it is fair to say that this is another piece of major legislation passed in the context of significant barriers, which erodes the “Dems in Dissarray” narrative. So this may change the narrative about the Biden administration to some degree, althought I still I don’t expect it to have significant effects on the mid-term outcomes.

I will note that, yes, “Inflation Reduction Act” is a a bit of a silly name clearly designed to pander to our current moment/the politics of inflation and that the provisions of the bill are rather unlikely to have any immediate impact (if any) on that topic. By the same token, it fits into a a long-standing practice of naming bills in politically tasty ways (at least it wasn’t a silly acronmy spelling out ANTI-INFLATION).

I would note, along these lines, that most media that I have heard/seen tend to use phrase like the NYT and CNN headlines above (“climate, tax, and health care” bill) instead of “Inflation Reduction Act.” You’d think that the mainstream press, being in bag for the Dems would do a better job of flogging the party line here! (and, in case anyone needs it: /s).

In honesty, I get the conundrum, insofar as while I used the name of the legislation in the title of this post, I am aware that could be construed as endorsing the political message trying to be sent by Democrats. I chose to use it because that is what is it called, and the other formulations are awkward, even if I certainly understand that this isn’t really an inflation reduction package. But all snarkiness about the situation aside, I think that the avoidance of the title in many reports underscores the way that the mainstream press bends over backwards to be as neutral as possible, despite narratives to the contrary. I also have seen, and expect to see more, reporting on what the bill doesn’t do (e.g., in WaPo: The Senate finally passed a historic climate bill. Now what?), which is an utterly fair, just not what would be the case if the MSM really was just a bunch of Dems boosting Dems. I just note all of this because the rightwing narrative is just so strong that about mainstream reporting being pro-Democrat that I always find that it leaps out at me how untrue that actually is.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Environment, Healthcare Policy, Media, Taxes, US Politics, , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Neil Hudelson says:

    Enough about politics and climate change and yadda yadda yadda, let’s get down to what’s really important: how does this effect me?

    Last summer I passed on installing solar panels, telling the consultant that the Democrats were on a roll and surely there’s gonna be just a firehose of tax credits coming my way any day now. He told me I was absolutely crazy and I really needed to lock in existing subsidies before they expired in December 2021.

    Well, well, well, how the turntables.

    I also need a new furnace, and was going to buy a heat pump anyway…

  2. DK says:

    I think that the avoidance of the title in many reports underscores the way that the mainstream press bends over backwards to be as neutral as possible

    Except when Hillary Clinton is involved, in which case the media bends over backwards to be as unfair to her and biased towards Republican bs as possible.

  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    538 just updated its mid-term guesses to Senate hold 60/40 Democrats, House hold 79/21 Republicans. Every little bit helps push those numbers our way. The climate bill will help a little at least. Falling gas prices help. Low unemployment. Extreme GOP candidates. Foreign policy toughness on China and Russia. Above all: Dobbs.

    Now we need some good news on inflation and Biden needs to act in a big way on student debt.

    The momentum may only be a trickle, but it’s trickling our way. We still have 60 days.

  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    It astounds me that Republicans are ao addicted to reflexive obstructionism that they will vote against stuff that is really popular with ALL Americans.
    The 15% minimum tax and the insulin caps are tremendously popular.
    If Democrats had a shred of killer instinct there wouldn’t be a question of them holding onto both chambers in November. For the life of me I don’t understand how they can fail to capitalize on their record.

  5. @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    If Democrats had a shred of killer instinct there wouldn’t be a question of them holding onto both chambers in November. For the life of me I don’t understand how they can fail to capitalize on their record.

    Because our elections are not designed to be reflective of popular sentiment.

    We have got to stop pretending like each election is about who competes the best and gets their message out.

  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Also…it appears like the Iran Nuke Deal is back on track…another major accomplishment that won’t move the needle.

  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    We have got to stop pretending like each election is about who competes the best and gets their message out.

    Then why are we bothering with elections?

  8. @Michael Reynolds: Your question is a non sequitur vis-a-vis my statement.

  9. Lounsbury says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: That is at once true at the level meant, but very academic and abstract, and impractical for achievement of goals all rolled into one. Reminds me of why academic make such rubbish entrepreneurs in business in general.

    Of course the base observation, that your electoral structure is not structured either to reflect national popular trends on a national aggregated average basis nor even on the sub-national (state) levels is a fundamental one.

    None of this in the world of business and marketing, to use my baseline, would mean one packs it away and cedes the market (well it may to declining or otherwise non-hungry firms that don’t feel like competing in a certain market space) as your habitual de-facto position is – not said as such and not recognised as such, but de-facto is that, versus writing rather long theoretical restructruring and what should be which frankly are of, well, academic interest (although yes useful to understand the real market (to use my language) constraints, and real market structures versus popular imaginings and self-deceptions of such market structures).

    @Michael Reynolds: Academics certainly should not bother. He will doubtless be offended, but really I mean this quite literally – academics’ (social sciences, of which my own original training in economics) baked in approach to what is fundamentally a sales concept, a market-making concept, is generally wrong and fundamentally mal-adapted for a risk-taking moves.

    It is rather my opinion the Anglo world Left has been rather too infected by academics – whose insights are indeed useful, but who are by necessary intellectual training and typically their inclination or nature maladapted to ram home an entreprenurial endeavour. (I note I say this as an entrepreneur who has founded … 4 companies, 3 still living, but the living with a rather less egg-headed partner than myself, having myself spent too much time in Unis with too many graduate degrees, know one’s weakness in the end). And for me if one is to take from my metaphor here, selling a political party is an entreprenurial endeavour.

    Having seen Brexit sold up-hill and needles moved, having seen Trump sold up-hill, etc – it is a gross error of over-abstraction not to see elections as sales jobs that are indeed competing for the marginal-added vote and are indeed competing for the best message, but it happens that “best message” or sales job is not one to be understood in national abstractions of average voters, but micro addressable markets and the marginal voter (in the economics meaning of marginal).

    To again use my investment and entrepreeurship world analogy, one has to well understand a potential real addressable market, that marginal vote, not the customer who will never buy nor dreaming and making fancy modeling on the market structure that one would ideally like to have.

    Of course most entrepreneurs fail, so there is that. But if one is not trying with a refined entrepreneurial game at the best defined addressable market (of the actual market/voting pool faced), then one has pre-lost the game.

    But then you know @Michael: , most authors fail to sell…. However it I think the Democrats need rather more savvy Triers, political entrepreneurs with a somewhat more moral but Trumplike sales savvy, they have a surplus of savvy Ponderers and Analysers (and a mega surplus of impractical Pony Wishers to achieve via dramatic declaration,and Drama Llamas).

  10. @Steven L. Taylor: Put another way, I didn’t say elections were inconsequential. I stated that we need to stop pretending like they are a free and fair measure of public preferences where the salient issue is whether the message gets out properly or whether one side has the proper “killer instinct” or not, etc.

    When we do that, we let the system off the hook.

  11. @Lounsbury:

    Reminds me of why academic make such rubbish entrepreneurs in business in general.

    Weirdly, entrepreneurs tend to make rubbish academics.

    I am constantly amazed that regular readers seem surprised that the authors of this site are academics, and therefore approach these subjects like, well, academics.

    I also find it weird the degree to which said regular readers like to be insulting towards academic approaches to these subjects.

    Do you go to comedy clubs and heckle the comedians for telling jokes? Are you shocked that your accountant wants you to bring receipts?

    Hey barista! Why did you bring me coffee?

  12. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Hey barista! Why did you bring me coffee?

    Well, truth be told I have been looking for a coffee shop where I can order a COFFEE (wink, wink) and the barista quietly gives me a Johnny Walker Double Black in an espresso cup…

  13. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    “…or whether one side has the proper “killer instinct” or not…”
    I actually think you miss the point of the killer instinct.
    I’m referring to Republicans approach of win at all costs no matter what. This is what allows McConnell to steal SCOTUS seats, or Trump to collude with Russia, or DeSantis or LePage to just flat out ignore election results. It is what allows Republicans to be utterly shameless in their hypocrisy and their lies. It’s what allows them to con the rubes, while selling themselves to the highest bidders.
    It’s about ruthlessness.
    No connection whatsoever to competition or messaging.

  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I also find it weird the degree to which said regular readers like to be insulting towards academic approaches to these subjects.

    I tend to see it as of a kind with prog bashing and note that it goes back to Spiro Agnew (in my memory, it may go back further depending on the first mention of “pointy-headed ivy-tower intellectuals”).

  15. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: And yes, “ivy (covered)-tower intellectuals” was deliberate.

  16. wr says:

    @Lounsbury: Seriously, dude, 600 words to tell us that elections… are about marketing? An idea that seemed insightful when Joe McGinnis wrote “The Selling of the President 1968” almost half a century ago?

    Maybe if you spent a little less time sneering at academics (and, one might add, puffing yourself up) you might notice that the insights you seem to find so refreshingly new and original when you come up with them have actually been studied and debated by those very same academics for decades.

  17. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “I also find it weird the degree to which said regular readers like to be insulting towards academic approaches to these subjects.”

    It’s because they think academics won’t fight back. It’s the same reason they spew reams of hate at 19 year -old college students whose passion overtakes their awareness of how the world really works. They can make cheap shots without any fear of every being hit back.

    (It’s particularly telling that they expend all their energy ragging on progressives, then give long lectures about how terrible it is that Democrats attack each other instead of the common foe… because bullying is only fun if you arrange it so your victim can’t respond.)

  18. Lounsbury says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: yes entrepreneurs do indeed tend to be rubbish academics, ceteris paribus.

    Academic thin-skinnedness aside, there is no surprise at your mode of thinking, only a criticism of it, and perhaps of a certain blindness to some fundamental limits and indeed error in lessons derived. Which you can and will ignore.

    Now in my world, one rather has to develop a rather thicket skin than is evident here, but getting direct and in no way nice nor varnished criticism of one’s investment pitch or plan at Investment Committee rather is better than polite maundering.

    As contrary to the past preference, I would rather that the Democrats not fail, given the other choice, I see pre-selling oneself on paralysed abstraction as not a positive, for all you should note I did not dismiss foundational points of analysis, the contrary, rather the de facto self-paralysis and narrowness.
    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: This is wrong, there is a connexion to competition and messaging, but it is rather both are understood and actioned on in very different terms than perhaps a certain idealised abstraction selling Intello oriented policy and good governance. Succes with the Rubes does not come from witchcraft.

  19. Lounsbury says:

    @wr: I know you love me deeply and dearly, but really, none of us should be so deluded as to think any original observationnor any new insight under the sun is to be had in blog comments. It’s all blithering on of opinions. liked or disliked.

  20. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Weirdly, entrepreneurs tend to make rubbish academics.

    Which is interesting, probably true, and not terribly consequential outside academia. The similar observation, that businessmen make rubbish presidents, seems more pertinent.

  21. gVOR08 says:

    A couple days ago Atrios suggested senators should be required to wear wigs like British judges. He thinks it would help people realize how silly the Senate is. I like it, but I have a more practical suggestion. Senators and representatives should be required to wear sashes embroidered with the names of their top dozen or so donor industries. It might make for a lot fewer silly articles about what makes Manchin or Sinema or any of them tick.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Steven, Lounsbury is the most intelligent person where ever he goes. Don’t believe him? Just wait for his next broadside.

    During my caving years, I spent more than a little time in the company of lawyers, medical Docs, phd’d physicists, biologists, chemists, and geologists, and none of them ever felt the need to belittle a person who took a position contrary to their own. I am not the smartest person in the world but a number of them asked me my opinion on matters of construction. Why? Because I was a f’n carpenter and I know what the fuck I was doing and they needed some help understanding what was what.

    In my mind I have gone back and forth over whether Lounsbury is truly intelligent, or is just a person who has a talent for money. I still haven’t decided, but one thing I do know: He is as dumb as a box of rocks. Only a truly insecure idiot would go out of his way to insult people who might be able to save him 10s of thousands of dollars on a construction project.

    He has some serious insecurity issues. Best if one does not delve into them.

  23. Franklin says:

    @gVOR08: Having Senators dress like like they just got out of a car at the Daytona 500 might even be better. “I’d like to thank our team at Morgan Stanley, etc.”

    Has something similar been done on SNL or anywhere?

  24. @Just nutha ignint cracker: Ivy-covered professors in ivy-covered halls, perchance?

  25. Scott F. says:


    Senators and representatives should be required to wear sashes embroidered with the names of their top dozen or so donor industries.

    I like this. In my version, they wear suits emblazoned with decals a la NASCAR. The really big donors have the biggest stickers.

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Or ivory covered professors in ivy-covered towers.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: And the office of my philosophy professor was in one of the turrets of the hall that housed his department at the time. The hall’s name was “Alexander Hall” because his last name was “Beers” and a Free Methodist college couldn’t have a “Beers Hall.” 😀

  28. @Just nutha ignint cracker: I was referencing this.

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I have a recording of that song and still didn’t trip over the reference. 🙁

  30. senyordave says:

    @gVOR08: Wasn’t Joe Biden Mr. Credit Card? He represented Delaware, which is home to some of the major players in the financial industry. I’m not sure the Democrats would come out looking very good regarding financial donors. Much better than the Republicans, but that is like being the tallest little person in the room.