(Video: WH Press Briefing)
With midterm elections fast approaching, Democrats are desperate for a win, so White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wasn’t about to let something like economic analysis get in the way of calling the $433 billion Inflation Reduction Act “historic” and declaring it a “game-changer” for Americans — even if that analysis clearly shows that the bill’s impact on soaring prices would be “statistically indistinguishable from zero.”
Sure, the University of Pennsylvania’s new Penn Wharton analysis has found the renamed legislation would, in fact, result in an increase in inflation through 2024, but Jean-Pierre insisted the deal reached between Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is “a big deal.”
“This is a historic piece of legislation,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. “It is going to be a game changer for so many Americans, so many middle-class families, and that the president is — is grateful, we have said that he is grateful for the work that has been done by Senator Manchin and Senator Schumer, and others in making this happen.”
“And so, the way that we see it is, it is going to help struggling Americans in a big way,” she continued. “When you think about lowering costs, we’ve been talking about what are we going to do with inflation? This is — this is one of it, one of those things, right? This is going to help Medicare actually be able to negotiate, to lower this cost. This is going to lower energy costs. This is the biggest investment that we have ever seen in U.S. history when it comes to fighting climate change. So this is a big deal.”
So sure is Jean-Pierre of the bill’s benefits to Americans, any Republican who opposes it is clearly expressing “false rage.”
“We have a plan,” she stated. “We have a plan to fight inflation. We are ready to help middle-class families and not– and Republicans are opposing that. They’re opposing that because of false rage.”
JEAN-PIERRE: “We have a plan to fight inflation…and Republicans are opposing that…because of 'false rage.'” pic.twitter.com/Ig0EGNOw6L
— ASUS North America (@SakibKadri6) July 29, 2022
It must be fake outrage, because it certainly can’t be that economists don’t think the plan will work.
According to Penn Wharton, the Inflation Reduction Act would “very slightly increase inflation until 2024 and decrease inflation thereafter. These point estimates are statistically indistinguishable from zero, thereby indicating low confidence that the legislation will have any impact on inflation.”
“PWBM estimates that the Inflation Reduction Act, as written, would reduce cumulative deficits by $248 billion over the budget window,” the model reveals.
However, Penn Wharton goes on to say, “We project no impact on GDP by 2031 and an increase in GDP of 0.2 percent by 2050. These estimates include the impact of debt and carbon reduction as well as capital and labor supply distortions from rising tax rates.”
And should the sunsetting of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) be made permanent at the end of 2025, “the 10-year deficit reduction estimate falls to $89 billion. The impact on GDP remains zero through 2040.”
If the Penn Wharton analysis has shaken the confidence of Sen. Manchin, he isn’t letting it show.
Prior to Friday’s release of the study, Manchin was all over Twitter touting the bill he says is “for America.”
“The Inflation Reduction Act is not a Democratic or Republican bill,” he tweeted. “It’s a bill for America. We have an opportunity to lower drug costs for seniors, lower ACA health care premiums, increase our energy security & invest in energy technologies — all while reducing our national debt.”
The Inflation Reduction Act is not a Democratic or Republican bill. It's a bill for America. We have an opportunity to lower drug costs for seniors, lower ACA health care premiums, increase our energy security & invest in energy technologies – all while reducing our national debt
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) July 29, 2022
And on Saturday morning, the controversial senator doubled down on the package.
“The Inflation Reduction Act will invest $300 BILLION in deficit reduction and ensure the biggest corporations and ultra-wealthy pay their fair share — while ensuring increased domestic energy security through increased production, reliability, and all-of-the-above policies.”
WATCH: The Inflation Reduction Act will invest $300 BILLION in deficit reduction and ensure the biggest corporations and ultra-wealthy pay their fair share – while ensuring increased domestic energy security through increased production, reliability, and all-of-the-above policies pic.twitter.com/xs732xRtyE
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) July 30, 2022
It remains unclear if Democrats can also count on the support of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) who has previously been critical of some of the bill’s provisions and who has, so far, declined to comment on the current proposed legislation.
When asked if the White House had reached out to Sinema, Jean-Pierre also declined to comment.
“The President has regular conversations with members of Congress,” she said. “His team, as we have said, have been communicating with the senators on this bill, offering any ticket technical assistance, or any guidance that they might need from us, but I don’t have anything to read out on a potential call.”
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