Democrats need to show voters ‘ground level’ benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act, ex-White House economist says

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese answers questions at the White House press briefing in Washington, D.C., June 4, 2021.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

WASHINGTON — Brian Deese, former director of the National Economic Council under President Joe Biden, touted the financial boost provided by the Inflation Reduction Act, calling it “the most significant economic response to any piece of legislation in 70 years.”

We’ve seen a doubling of manufacturing construction, and under the hood, you see that in semiconductors but you also see that in funded clean energy announced projects — multiples of what we’ve ever seen in this country before,” Deese told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday. “And that holds the prospect for driving productivity for driving better job opportunities in the future.”

The $430 billion package passed last year is the Biden administration’s landmark piece of legislation, part of an overarching plan to fund manufacturing and infrastructure investments to help the U.S. economy recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and shift away from a reliance on fossil fuels.

The challenge for Democrats ahead of the 2024 election, Deese said, is spelling out the impact of the legislation at the “ground level” while challenging Republicans who are taking credit for administration policies.

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“And this is why, I think, to understand the impact of these three pieces of legislation, including infrastructure, you have to use a map, you have to go very specifically to these specific places,” Deese said.

Deese was referring to the Covid-related American Rescue Plan Act of March 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of November that year and the IRA of August 2022.

Several states that voted for former President Donald Trump during the 2020 presidential election, including Florida, Texas and Alabama, will house new IRA-funded manufacturing and production facilities, according to Senate Democrats.

“We’re also seeing the sort of strange politics of Republicans claiming credit or not denying credit when there’s actually a facility that’s being built in their district,” Deese said. “Because at the very local level, these things become less partisan-political and more practical.”

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