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After an all-nighter on the U.S. Senate floor last week, I was exhausted but joyful. Senate Democrats had just passed the Inflation Reduction Act and the first thing I thought of was my grandkids. They are too young to understand, but I still wanted to tell them what this legislation means for their future.

I have no doubt that when I look back on my service in the Senate, I will see this legislation as one of the most important things I had a chance to work on.

It's called the Inflation Reduction Act because it will help lower costs for Americans, but this bill will do much more than that.

It will make our tax system more fair, by closing loopholes so that corporations earning more than $1 billion a year in profits pay at least 15% in taxes. It lowers health insurance costs for millions of Americans and lowers drug prices by finally allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies. And maybe most important, it takes dramatic action to address the climate crisis.

We all know that climate change is not a distant threat, it's a current emergency. We see the impacts across Minnesota in record shattering heat waves, flooding, drought and wildfires. Climate scientists and activists have sounded the alarm for decades, yet every meaningful attempt to pass federal climate legislation has died in the Senate. We changed that last week.

This bill is the most significant action we have ever taken to reduce emissions and lower energy costs for Americans.

It puts us on track to slash greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030, putting us well along the path of achieving our goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Reducing emissions is a powerful step to address the climate crisis and this bill achieves this by dramatically expanding clean power — something Minnesota is already very good at. Just as powerful are the steps this bill takes to help all Minnesotans benefit from the clean energy transition.

Switching to clean energy and clean cars saves people money right away, but it requires upfront investment. If you put solar panels on your roof, buy a new or used electric vehicle, install a heat pump, or fix leaky windows and improve the insulation of your house, you will save on energy costs, but the upfront costs can be out of reach. The Inflation Reduction Act tackles this problem by providing rebates and tax credits to make these energy improvements affordable. And these benefits are targeted squarely at middle and working class Americans.

Democrats' legislation will save families hundreds to thousands of dollars a year in energy bills and improve indoor air quality. Plus, we will be less captive to the ups and downs of global oil and gas prices. No foreign dictator can control when the sun shines or the wind blows — that's true energy independence.

And we're not just helping households transition to clean energy. This bill gives utilities, businesses and landlords strong incentives to make the switch, too. So even if home efficiency investments aren't for you, you will still benefit from lower energy bills, less pollution and cleaner air.

Cleaner air will mean thousands fewer premature deaths and hundreds of thousands fewer asthma attacks annually. This is especially meaningful for poor communities and communities of color, who have been most hurt by fossil fuel pollution in their neighborhoods.

The Inflation Reduction Act will also bring back mining, manufacturing and recycling to the U.S. so we can make the components of this clean energy future here at home — from batteries and solar panels to clean cars, buses and trucks. This will make our economy stronger and more resilient to the kind of supply chain disruptions that have driven up costs for all of us. And it means better paying jobs and careers for Americans — millions of jobs, in fact. That's because these programs reward making things in America.

Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, America will be a leader in the clean energy transition. That's good news for our economy, our health, and the planet.

It's important to understand that the Inflation Reduction Act also takes unprecedented steps to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs.

For decades, Democrats fought against big drug companies to pass legislation allowing Medicare to negotiate directly for lower costs. Finally, we beat them. For the first time, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, we will be able to use the full leverage of American taxpayers to get lower drug prices for millions of Americans.

And, for the first time, we will cap seniors' out-of-pocket cost for medicines at $2,000 a year.

Expanding clean energy and attacking the climate crisis. Lowering health care costs. Making the biggest, richest corporations pay their fair share of taxes. These are broadly bipartisan ideas that are popular with Democrats, Republicans and independents. But in Congress, where big pharma, big oil and big corporations have so much power, they have been impossible to pass, until now. Democrats, without the support of a single Republican in Congress, got it done.

The Inflation Reduction Act was written with the American people in mind. It is for seniors struggling to afford their lifesaving medications, families looking for ways to lower their energy bills, and for all our children and grandchildren who deserve the opportunity to live in the Minnesota we love without fear of the devastation of the climate crisis.

It is a landmark piece of legislation. And it's just the beginning of what we can accomplish.

Tina Smith, a Democrat, represents Minnesota in the U.S. Senate.