After a long deliberation in the Senate, which has lasted since Saturday, the Democrats managed to pass the bill promoted by Joe Biden aimed at combating climate change, reducing drug prices and increasing some corporate taxes. The ‘Inflation Reduction Law’ is a victory for the president that was only achieved by the unity of his party that voted as a bloc to pass the package. One that must now be approved by the House.
A break for US President Joe Biden. The Democrats approved in the country’s Senate one of the president’s most ambitious proposals in tax, health and environmental terms. Known as the ‘Inflation Reduction Law’, it contemplates 430,000 million dollars in 10 years and seeks to generate revenues of around 740,000 million.
The original project known as ‘Build Back Better’, and was made up of 3.5 billion dollars, faced multiple modifications at the request of the Democratic Party itself. Thus, the new version was approved by all the senators of that party who remained united during the vote.
The day of deliberation lasted for more than 24 hours and ended with 51 in favor against 50 against. In a divided Senate, the tiebreaker vote was cast by Vice President Kamala Harris.
President Joe Biden celebrated the approval and through his Twitter account assured that: “I ran for election promising to get the government back to work for working families, and that’s what this law does.”
Today, Senate Democrats voted to lower the cost of Rx drugs, health insurance, and energy — all while reducing the deficit and making the richest corporations pay their fair share.
I ran to make government work for working families again.
That’s what this bill does—period.
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 7, 2022
The bill will have to pass another instance: be approved by the House of Representatives. Biden encouraged Democrats, where they are the majority, to ratify it so that it can then be signed by the president.
A long road to approval
Three dozen Republican amendments, points of order and motions seeking to deny the package were rejected by Democrats. Thus, it was quite a challenge to maintain the coalition of 50 Democratic senators that was needed to approve the package.
Passage was achieved thanks to a parliamentary maneuver called “reconciliation,” which allows budget-related legislation to pass with a simple majority and not need the 60 Senate votes needed for most bills.
The session, which began on Saturday, had its most critical moment for Democrats on Sunday when there were objections to the new 15% corporate minimum tax.
For his part, Senator Bernie Sanders passed a series of amendments to further expand the health benefits of the legislation. But none of them could prosper.
“The Senate is making history,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer after the bill passed. He further stated: “I am confident that the Inflation Reduction Act will endure as one of the defining legislative measures of the 21st century.”
This Senate Democratic Majority with the Inflation Reduction Act has just passed the largest package to fight the climate crisis ever passed by the United States Congress. pic.twitter.com/lcB9FkxFhI
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 7, 2022
Democrats say this package will help reduce inflation because the measure pays for itself and aims to reduce the federal deficit. In addition, they are looking for the success of this Sunday to be an incentive for the midterm elections in November.
A perspective that collides with that of the Republicans who have denounced that it will not attack inflation and have repeatedly pointed out that it responds only to the interests of the left and that they could endanger the country’s economy.
“The Democrats have already robbed American families once through inflation, and now their solution is to rob American families a second time,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. On his Twitter account, he added that “only 18% of Americans are happy with this Democrat-run economy.”
Democrats have proven over and over they simply do not care about middle-class families’ priorities. Only 18% of Americans are happy with this Democrat-run economy.
And they just spent hundreds of billions of dollars more of your money to provide it yet again. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/uWA8VCbq7i
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) August 7, 2022
What does the bill contemplate?
The fight against climate change is one of the essential points proposed by the bill, which seeks to reduce carbon emissions and lead consumers to green energy. Almost 375 billion dollars are planned for this over a decade.
Clean energy would be encouraged with tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles and the manufacture of solar panels and wind turbines.
In addition, there would be home energy rebates, funds to build clean energy technology factories, and money to promote climate-friendly farming practices and reduce pollution in minority communities.
On the other hand, through a proposal by the Democratic senator from Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema, they will seek to combat the drought in the west of the country with a fence. Close to $4 billion dollars would be directed towards said objective.
According to the Democrats, the Inflation Reduction Act would help reduce the country’s polluting emissions by 40% between now and 2030.
In terms of health, the bill limits out-of-pocket drug expenses to $2,000 a year for older adults enrolled in Medicare, a social security coverage program administered by the United States government.
In addition, it seeks to help 13 million people to pay for health insurance.
On the other hand, it strengthens the application of taxes for corporations and for the richest people in the country. For example, Democrats are proposing a minimum 15% tax on companies with profits of more than a billion dollars that would help finance the package.
What was left out?
The bill approved in the Senate contemplates a tenth of the budget of Biden’s initial proposal. At the same time, several of his points were left out.
Some of them are: the universal preschool level, paid family leave and the expansion of aid for child care.
Democrats were also unable to muster the votes needed to cap insulin costs at $35 in the private health insurance market.
With AP, Reuters and EFE