When President Biden signs the Inflation Reduction Act in a few days, it will cap a historically successful legislative run for a president. Biden’s presidency opened to seemingly insurmountable obstacles — a pandemic infecting 185,000 and killing 3,300 Americans each day (only 5% of Americans had been vaccinated), almost 10 million jobs lost in 2020, and an unemployment rate at 6.3%. He inherited razor-thin margins in the House of Representatives, an evenly divided Senate and a Republican opposition so extreme it attempted a coup.
Despite these headwinds, Biden and Democrats in Congress have delivered on their promises to the American people. They passed an American Recovery Act that helped administer 300 million vaccines in his first 150 days; Americans went back to work in record numbers (1 million new jobs in 100 days; 6.4 million jobs during the first year); unemployment down to 3.5%; small businesses re-opening and children and teachers safely back to school.
They passed a bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a once-in-a-generation investment in roads, bridges, rail, clean water, lead-pipe replacement, and high-speed internet, which will add more than 1 million jobs per year for the next 10 years.
They passed the CHIPS Act, another generational law that invests in America by supercharging our efforts to make semi-conductors in America, and creates a more secure economy, new jobs and a stronger future for our nation. These investments will help us control our own destiny and reduce our dependency on unfriendly nations like China.
They passed the first substantive gun-violence prevention bill in decades, strengthening background checks, reducing the threat of violence in our communities and saving lives.
They passed the PACT Act fulfilling our sacred obligation to care for our nation’s brave men and women who served our country, by expanding health coverage for America’s veterans.
The Inflation Reduction Act takes monumental steps that Democrats, and voters, have sought for decades, but that Republicans, backed by special interest groups, had consistently derailed.
In fact, every one of these landmark laws designed to help working-class Americans have met nearly unanimous Republican opposition, and without even the mere suggestion of an alternative plan.
For the first time, Medicare will have the power to negotiate drug prices and cap out-of-pocket expenses, lowering health costs for 4.8 million Floridians who rely on Medicare.
The legislation extends subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, good news for the 2.7 million Floridians who receive health care coverage through the ACA.
It takes the most consequential action to address climate change in history. The Act is projected to cut carbon emissions by 40% from 2005 levels by 2030 – cause for celebration in a state like Florida, which sits on the front lines of increasingly powerful hurricanes and sea level rise.
And it finally makes corporations pay their fair share in taxes, something Republicans have long opposed.
It does all of this without raising taxes on any Americans earning under $400,000, yet another promise Biden has kept.
Measured by legislative success, one of our nation’s most successful presidents, Lyndon Johnson, had super majorities in Congress. Biden’s impressive run — which includes more than 70 lower court judicial appointments, the appointment of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman on the Supreme Court, and unemployment at 50-year lows — was accomplished in a hostile environment with no room for error.
Democrats ran in 2020 promising to fight for working-class Americans. Many wondered whether Democrats had the resolve to fight. After enduring an administration defined by chaos and extremism, Biden and party majorities in Congress have governed like common sense, get-things-done Democrats who are fighting and delivering for the American people.
Manny Diaz is the chair of the Florida Democratic Party and a former mayor of Miami.