The US Senate Has Approved Joe Biden's Flagship Economic Package
After a marathon voting session, the US Senate passed Joe Biden's flagship economic package, handing the president a major political victory just months before the midterm elections.
The Curbing Inflation Act, a climate, tax, and health-care bill were passed by a 51-50 vote, with the vote split by party and Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote in an equally divided Senate.
Before becoming law, the bill must still pass the House of Representatives and be signed by the president, but its passage by the Senate is the most significant in a string of recent victories for Biden as he seeks to defend slim majorities in both houses of Congress in November.
Following deadly shootings in Texas and New York earlier this summer, lawmakers passed a bill providing new subsidies for American chip manufacturing and agreed to cross-party gun control legislation.
COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/w/bidens-flagship-economic-package/ by Daisy-Mae Schmitt on 2022-08-08T13:25:04.236Z
With $369 billion dedicated to climate and clean energy programs, the Cut Inflation Act includes some of the most significant climate change laws enacted in the United States.
It also includes provisions for the government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, a minimum 15% tax on large corporations, and a new 1% tax on share buybacks.
Senate passes Inflation Reduction Act after marathon debate
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and six other Democrats joined Republicans in passing a last-minute amendment that would exempt private equity from the proposed minimum corporate tax.
Business groups and Republicans have been outspoken in their opposition to imposing the minimum 15% tax, claiming that it would discourage investment and harm US exporters.
Despite the fact that most Republican attempts to amend the bill during the lengthy legislative session were unsuccessful, GOP lawmakers succeeded Sunday morning in removing a $35 price cap for insulin from the package. Medicare patients will continue to be subject to the cap.
Biden said in a statement that the bill would "get the government back to working for working families" by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, health insurance, and daily energy costs while reducing the deficit.
"It took a lot of compromises," Biden said. "Doing important things almost always does."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised the bill as "one of the defining legislative feats of the 21st century."
"Our bill cuts inflation, cuts costs, creates millions of well-paying jobs and is the boldest climate package in US history," Schumer said in the Senate. "This bill ushers in a new era of affordable clean energy in America." This is a game changer. It's a turning point. And it's taken a long time.
Climate activists applauded the bill's passage. "The Senate just made climate history," said National Resources Defense Council CEO Manish Bapna. "This is the single most important step the United States has ever taken to address climate change."
"This bill isn’t perfect, but from a climate pollution perspective, the positives far outweigh the negatives – by a factor of 10," Bapna said.
According to a separate analysis conducted by Rhodium Group, a clean energy consultancy, the IRA could put the US on track to reduce emissions by 31-44 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, compared to a reduction of 24 to 35 percent without the legislation.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her chamber would "act quickly" to send the bill to the president's office.
The final bill was passed by the Senate after weeks of dramatic intraparty negotiations among Democrats, including a U-turn by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.
Manchin had previously refused to support previous versions of the package on the grounds that they would fuel inflation, effectively killing Democrats' chances of getting the bill through a divided House.
However, Manchin and Schumer negotiated a bill late last month before receiving Sinema's support last week.
Sinema endorsed him after Democrats agreed to repeal a provision known as "reach" that changed the preferential treatment of private equity and hedge fund profits.