Senate passes sweeping climate, health and tax package, putting Democrats on cusp of historic win
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) holds a news conference to promote the Democrat-backed $430 billion drug pricing, energy and tax bill at the U.S. Capitol on August 5, 2022 in Washington, U.S.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats narrowly passed a sweeping climate and economic package on Sunday, with President Joe Biden and his party on the verge of a legislative victory three months before the crucial November midterm elections. Major victory.
After a marathon overnight Senate meeting, the 51-50 vote was perfectly partisan, with all Republicans voting no and all Democrats voting yes. Democrats got a standing ovation after Vice President Kamala Harris cast a tie-breaking vote.
The legislation, known as the Reducing Inflation Act, will now go to the House of Representatives, which plans to return from summer recess on Friday to pass the legislation and send it to Biden’s desk for his signature.
“It’s been a long, hard and winding road, but we’re finally here. I know it’s been a long day and a long night. But we’re done today,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the floor before. Say final vote.
“After more than a year of work, the Senate is making history. I am confident that the Reducing Inflation Act will endure as a defining legislative feat of the 21st century.”
The 755-page bill includes $430 billion to fight climate change and expand health care coverage, paid for by saving on prescription drugs and taxing companies. It spends hundreds of billions of dollars on deficit reduction.
- The bulk of the spending — more than $300 billion — goes to investments to fight climate change and promote clean energy, including incentivizing farmers and ranchers to reduce methane emissions; extending electric vehicle tax credits; and launching the National Climate Bank, which will Invest in clean energy technologies and energy efficiency.
- The legislation would, for the first time, empower Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies, thereby reducing the price of prescription drugs for seniors.The savings will help pay for the three-year extension of the Affordable Care Act subsidy, which will avoid Expected premiums to rise It was originally scheduled to take effect in 2023.
- The plan included a cap on insulin prices for Medicare middle-aged and older adults, but Republicans succeeded in removing the $35 cap on insulin on the private market.
- The bill also boosts revenue by imposing a new 15 percent minimum tax on large corporations, although accelerated depreciation would be exempt — a key demand from centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz, who took several from leadership. tax changes before boarding.
- Sinema also successfully eliminated a provision to close a carried interest tax loophole that favored private equity and hedge fund managers. In its place, backed by Sinema, was a 1% excise tax on share buybacks, which actually brought in more revenue than the carried interest clause.
Legislation was quickly agreed.Less than two weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.V.) announced a Surprise deal On some major agenda items for the party that many Democrats see no chance of becoming law this year.
Democrats see the massive package as the latest in an unusual string of packages. legislative victory For a Congress that is usually in a partisan gridlock. Last year saw a $1 trillion infrastructure package, the most important gun reform legislation in a generation, a major semiconductor and scientific competitiveness package, a bill to help veterans exposed to fire pits, and in a showdown Vote to allow Finland and Sweden to join NATO and Russia.
“Mitch McConnell and the Republicans have always stood with Big Oil, with Big Pharma to protect their profits, and we’ve been working hard for years to reduce costs,” Democratic Policy Committee Chair, D-Mich. Senator Debbie Stabenow, told NBC News.
“This is an important moment to have these forces,” she said, “and the people will win.”
Sen. Cory Booker, DN.J., Biden’s progressive and 2020 one-time presidential rival, also took note of recent progress in Congress.
“I don’t know if any Congress and president has been as productive as we’ve seen in this Congress,” he said in an interview. “This president has continually introduced historic bills that meet the urgency of the American public.”