Biden Admits His Signature Inflation Reduction Act Isn’t About Inflation

(Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
August 11, 2023

President Joe Biden this week said his signature Inflation Reduction Act was not about reducing inflation and that he wished he gave it a different name.

"I wish I hadn’t called it that because it has less to do with inflation than it has to do with providing alternatives that generate economic growth," Biden said at a Utah fundraiser on Thursday, according to a White House pool report.

Biden signed the roughly $1.2 trillion act focused on massive climate spending last year. Both the Congressional Budget Office and Biden's favorite economist said around that time that the legislation would have little effect on inflation.

Biden made a similar comment on Tuesday in New Mexico, where he more bluntly said it has "nothing" to do with inflation.

"We’ve put ourselves in a position where we passed the most comprehensive environmental piece of—it's called the Inflation Reduction Act. It’s within that. It has nothing to do with inflation; it has to do with the ... $368 billion, the single-largest investment in climate change anywhere in the world," Biden said.

The comments stand in stark contrast to past remarks the president made about the legislation.

Biden called it "the strongest bill you can pass to lower inflation" in July 2022. Two months later, he referred to it as "the single most important legislation passed in [this] Congress to combat inflation and one of the most significant laws in our nation's history" during a White House event.

Other Democrats hyped up the bill. Then-Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said "it reduces inflation" and it "lowers their costs."

West Virginia senator Joe Manchin (D.), who is considered the "chief architect" of the bill, defended his support for it last year. He called it a "great bill" that was "about the American people" and would fight inflation, the "greatest threat."

When asked about economists saying the bill would have little impact on inflation, Manchin said, "Maybe they're wrong."

Manchin, potentially facing down a difficult reelection campaign, has since distanced himself from the legislation, complaining that Biden worked to "liberalize" it.