Every summer for the last decade, I've traveled across northern, western and central Illinois to listen to folks in each corner of our Congressional District.
And for 10 years, I've been taking what I hear at home to Washington and applying that to solutions as we work to address the generational challenges facing our communities.
For way too long, the condition of our roads and bridges has been unacceptable - stifling economic growth and leading to costly vehicle repairs. Offshoring and technology have made it hard for too many friends and neighbors to find good-paying jobs in our rural communities. And despite medical advancements, the cost of lifesaving prescription drugs has constantly strained families' budgets.
We all know that change in Washington doesn't come quickly, but after years of efforts to address these issues in Congress, I'm able to report back that we've made historic progress.
And that's what I was able to focus on during my last Heartland Tour - investments in our families and our communities that will create American jobs and bring a brighter future.
In my final term in office, we've supported small businesses and kept our economy afloat during the pandemic with the American Rescue Plan. We passed a once-in-a-generation investment in jobs, roads and bridges with the Infrastructure Law, supported by Republicans and Democrats.
Through my role on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, I secured the most community project funding of any democrat in Congress - bringing home $55 million. And just last month, we passed the Inflation Reduction Act to combat the rising costs that are holding families back.
Here's a look at how this new law will help ease the strains on your pocketbook:
Brings Down Prescription Drug Prices
For years, we've talked about the need to bring down the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs. The Inflation Reduction Act gets this done by finally allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs, preventing excessive price hikes and capping out-of-pocket costs for seniors at $2,000 a year. It also will cap the price of insulin for seniors to no more than $35 per month.
Reduces Health Care Costs
The Affordable Care Act was a generational step forward in the fight to secure quality, affordable health care for every American. But provisions of this landmark legislation have to be renewed to keep costs lower for American families. With the Inflation Reduction Act, we extended key Affordable Care Act assistance that will lock in the lower health care premiums that save 13 million Americans an average of $800 a year.
Cuts Energy Costs & Creates 21st Century Jobs
Investing in 21st Century energy infrastructure creates Heartland jobs, reduces our impact on the planet and lowers families' energy bills. That's why the Inflation Reduction Act makes the largest-ever investment in domestic energy production and manufacturing to help us tackle climate challenges while creating good-paying jobs right here in America.
This new law is a game changer - and it builds on the work Democrats are getting done for the American people.
But most importantly, the Inflation Reduction Act makes all of these investments while cutting the federal deficit by $300 billion. That's because it finally reforms our tax code to fight back against tax cheats and ensure that corporations and the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share. And no one making under $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in taxes.
Through Election Day and my final day in office on Jan. 3, I'll keep working to protect our institutions and the rights millions of us hold dear. And I'm hopeful that we will have new leaders taking office who will continue that vital work.
Congresswoman Cheri Bustos represents the 17th Congressional District of Illinois, spanning the Quad Cities, Rockford and Peoria, and the many communities in between. Bustos is serving her fifth and final term as a U.S. Representative.
This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: Your turn: Inflation Reduction Act brings down costs for Illinois families