5 Ways the Inflation Reduction Act Falls Short for American Families

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Lamkey Rod/CNP/ABACA/Shutterstock (13065740af)United States Senator Joe Manchin III (Democrat of West Virginia) offers his opening statement during a Senate Committee Rules and Administration hearing to examine the Electoral Count Act, focusing on the need for reform, in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, USA, Wednesday, August 3, 2022.
Lamkey Rod/CNP/ABACA/Shutterstock / Lamkey Rod/CNP/ABACA/Shutterstock

The House signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 into law on Friday. The extensive bill is targeted at fighting climate change, slashing the national deficit and lowering the price of prescription drugs. It’s an ambitious $430 billion package that democrats applaud. And it arrives at a crucial time — less than three months before midterm elections.  

See: EV Tax Credit in Inflation Reduction Act Very Limiting: ‘Most Vehicles Immediately Ineligible’
Find: Inflation Reduction Act Offers Home Tax Credits, Rebates to Upgrade Electric and Solar Infrastructure

The White House says the act will tackle inflation by both reducing the cost of energy and the cost of healthcare by lowering the deficit. Surely any steps to bring down inflation are welcome by all Americans, not just democrats, but there are some areas where the bill falls short for many families. 

In particular, the bill fails to live up to the promises made in the Build Back Better proposal by omitting the following: 

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The Child Tax Credit

Under the Inflation Reduction Act, families will not receive the $250 or $300 a month for kids. These direct payments started during the pandemic and helped alleviate poverty throughout the country.   

Free Preschool

So much for those two years of free preschool that the Build Back Better plan included in its agenda. This is nowhere to be found in the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Paid Family Leave

On the matter of paid family leave, the U.S has always been sorely lacking. Other wealthy countries like Finland and Belgium tout generous federal policies for all families, and it’s long been debated that America can and should offer the same. But that didn’t happen under the Inflation Reduction Act.

Subsidized Child Care 

Child care: Yet another area where the U.S desperately needs to make improvements to, at the very least, help seal the gender gap. President Joe Biden originally wanted to give subsidized child care to Americans earning less than $300,000 a year, but that didn’t make the cut of this bill either. 

See: Child Care Costs Are Skyrocketing — Here’s How Much More Families Are Paying
Find: Universal Free School Lunches Latest Pandemic-Era Initiative To Be Discontinued, 10 Million Children Affected

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Free School Meals 

The swelling price of food is a serious problem and many families feel it brutally when feeding their kids. With the Build Back Better plan, Biden wanted to provide free school meals to 8.9 million children and give $65 per child on a monthly basis to families over the summer (when school is not in session). The Inflation Reduction Act does not include this benefit. 

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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