Five Ex-Treasury Secretaries Back Inflation Reduction Act—Sinema Quiet

Five former Treasury secretaries have come out in support of the Inflation Reduction Act ahead of a key Senate vote expected this week.

The officials, who served in both Democratic and Republican administrations, said in a statement that they supported the bill and it would not increase taxes on families who earn less than $400,000 a year.

The Democratic legislation is supported by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, but Democrats will need the support of every one of their senators to pass the bill using budget reconciliation.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has remained silent on whether she will back the legislation. If she decides against it, the bill will not proceed as no Republicans are expected to support it.

Kyrsten Sinema
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), seen on May 12 in Washington. Hank Paulson (top right) and Larry Summers (bottom right) are two of the five former Treasury secretaries who have backed the Inflation Reduction Act. Getty

The five who signed the statement are Hank Paulson, who was Treasury secretary under George W. Bush, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers (both Bill Clinton), and Timothy Geithner and Jacob Lew (both Barack Obama).

"As former Treasury secretaries of both Democratic and Republican administrations, we support the Inflation Reduction Act, which is financed by prudent tax policy that will collect more from top earners and large corporations," they said in the statement published by Axios on Wednesday.

"Taxes due or paid will not increase for any family making less than $400,000 a year. And the extra taxes levied on corporations do not reflect increases in the corporate tax rate, but rather the reclaiming of revenue lost to tax avoidance and provisions benefiting the most affluent."

Opponents of the bill, including some Republicans, have claimed the legislation will increase taxes for families earning less than $400,000 per year—but the White House and Senator Manchin have said thid is not the case.

The former Treasury secretaries wrote: "The selective presentation by some of the distributional effects of this bill neglects benefits to middle-class families from reducing deficits, from bringing down prescription drug prices and from more affordable energy.

"This legislation will help increase American competitiveness, address our climate crisis, lower costs for families and fight inflation—and should be passed immediately by Congress."

Supporters of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 say it would ease inflation by reducing the national deficit. It would also include $369 billion for energy security and would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, among other measures.

These items would be paid for—and the deficit reduced—through better IRS enforcement, closing the so-called "carried interest loophole" and a 15 percent minimum corporate tax.

Democrats intend to pass the bill through the budget reconciliation process, which means they will not require Republican votes but Sinema's support will be essential.

Passing the legislation would be seen as a significant victory for the Democrats heading into the crucial midterm elections.

Newsweek has contacted Senator Kyrsten Sinema's office for comment.