Senate passes climate, health, and tax package, sending Dems close to historic win , A comprehensive climate and economic plan was passed by the Democrats in the Senate on Sunday by a razor-thin margin, putting President Joe Biden and his party on the edge of a major legislative triumph just three months before the important midterm elections in November.
Following a lengthy debate in the Senate that lasted all night, the final vote of 51-50 was conducted entirely along party lines, with all Republicans voting against the measure and all Democrats voting in favour. Democrats rose to their feet and applauded after Kamala Harris, the Vice President, cast the vote that broke the tie.
Now that the Senate has approved the bill, which is known as the Inflation Reduction Act, it is on its way to the House, which is scheduled to go back from its summer holiday on Friday, vote on the bill, and then send it to Vice President Joe Biden’s office for his signature.
“After what felt like an endless, arduous, and convoluted journey, we had finally reached our destination. I am aware that both the day and the night have been very long. But we’ve gotten it done today, “Before the final vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made the following statement on the floor of the Senate.
“The Senate’s efforts over the past year and a half are finally paying off, as they are about to make history. There is no doubt in my mind that the Inflation Reduction Act will go down in history as one of the most significant achievements in legislative history throughout the 21st century.”
The measure, which is 755 pages long, includes provisions totaling $430 billion to address climate change and to extend health care coverage. These provisions will be funded through cost reductions for prescription pharmaceuticals and increases in taxes on corporations. This contributes tens of hundreds of billions of dollars toward the goal of reducing the deficit.
The majority of the spending, which totals more than $300 billion, will go toward investments to combat climate change and boost clean energy. These investments will include financial incentives for farmers and ranchers to reduce methane emissions; an extension of the tax credit for electric vehicles; and the launch of a National Climate Bank, which will make investments in energy efficiency technologies and clean energy technologies.
Prescription medication costs for persons aged 65 and over would fall down as a result of the law since it would grant Medicare the authority to negotiate lower pricing with pharmaceutical corporations for the first time. The cost savings would contribute to the financing of a three-year extension of subsidies provided by the Affordable Care Act. This would put a stop to the anticipated increase in insurance prices that was scheduled to take effect in 2023.
However, Republicans were successful in their efforts to eliminate a $35 price cap on insulin sold on the commercial market. The insulin price cap that is included in the package applies only to Medicare recipients aged 65 and older.
The bill also raises money through a new minimum tax of 15% on major firms; but, it exempts accelerated depreciation, which was a significant request of moderate Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, who wrung many tax revisions from leadership before getting behind the package.
A measure that would have closed a tax loophole known as the carried interest tax loophole, which benefited private equity and hedge fund managers, was successfully defeated by Sinema. It was replaced, with Sinema’s cooperation, by an excise tax of 1 percent on stock buybacks. This tax actually brings in more income than the carried interest clause would have brought in.
The legislation was drafted in a short amount of time. A little less than two weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and Senator Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, announced a surprise deal on some of the party’s major agenda items that many Democrats believed had no chance of becoming law this year. These were items that many Democrats believed had no chance of becoming law in the upcoming year.
In a Congress that is generally mired in party deadlock, Democrats are counting this massive package as merely the most recent victory in an unusually long string of legislative victories. Last year, there was a vote to admit Finland and Sweden into NATO in the midst of a showdown with Russia. There was also a bill to help veterans who were exposed to burn pits, an infrastructure package worth $1 trillion, the most significant gun control legislation in a generation, a major semiconductor and science competitiveness package, and a bill to help veterans who were exposed to burn pits. “Mitch McConnell and Republicans have been standing with Big Oil, standing with Big Pharma to protect their profits,” said Senator
She stated that “this is the major moment here with these troops,” and that “the people are going to win” in the upcoming conflict.
Sen. Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, a progressive who was formerly considered a potential opponent to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, remarked on the recent achievements of Congress.
In an interview, he made the following statement on the current Congress: “I don’t know whether there’s been any Congress and president that has been as productive as we’ve seen in this Congress.” “This president continues to put up historic legislation that addresses the pressing concerns of the American people.”