Senate passes sweeping tax, health and climate package, putting Democrats on top of historic victory

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) holds a press conference to introduce the $430 billion drug, energy and tax pricing bill backed by Democrats at the Capitol United States in Washington, USA August 5, 2022.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats narrowly passed a sweeping economic and climate package on Sunday, sending President Joe Biden and his party to the cusp of a major legislative victory just three months before the election. important midterm elections in November.

After a lengthy all-night Senate session, the 51-50 vote went completely partisan, with all Republicans voting no and all Democrats voting. agree. After Vice President Kamala Harris cast the discord vote, the Democrats stood and clapped.

The bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, which is currently moving to the House of Representatives, is expected to return from the summer break on Friday, pass the legislation and send it to Biden’s desk for signature.

“It’s been a long, difficult and tortuous road, but we’ve finally got there. I know it’s been a long day and a long night. But we’re done today,” said the Leader Senate number Chuck Schumer spoke earlier. final vote.

“After more than a year of hard work, the Senate is making history. I am confident the Inflation Reduction Act will last as one of the defining legislative feats of the 21st century.”

The 755-page bill includes $430 billion to fight climate change and expand health care coverage, paid for with savings on prescription drugs and taxes levied on corporations. It put hundreds of billions of dollars into reducing the deficit.

  • Much of the spending — more than $300 billion — is on investments to tackle climate change and promote clean energy, including measures to incentivize farmers and ranchers to reduce methane emissions. ; electric vehicle tax credit extension; and the launch of the National Climate Bank will invest in clean energy and energy efficiency technologies.
  • The bill would allow Medicare to negotiate prices for the first time with drug companies, cutting the price of prescription drugs for seniors. The savings will help pay for a three-year extension of the Affordable Care Act benefit, which will prevent a Insurance premiums are expected to increase is set to take effect in 2023.
  • The package included a price cap on insulin for seniors in the Medicare program, but Republicans successfully removed the $35 limit on insulin on the private market.
  • The bill also increases revenue through a new 15% minimum tax on large corporations, though accelerated depreciation would be waived — a key claim by centrist Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., The person who extracted some tax changes from the leadership before boarding with the package.
  • Sinema also succeeded in removing a provision to close the interest tax loophole in favor of private equity and hedge fund managers. It was replaced, with Sinema’s backing, with a 1% excise tax on share buybacks that actually brought in more revenue than the net profit provision would have.

The law was quickly applied. Less than two weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin, DW.V., announced a surprise deal on several key items on the party agenda that many Democrats believe have no chance of becoming law this year.

Democrats consider the sprawling package just the latest in an unusual string of legislative victory for a Congress often mired in partisan deadlock. There’s a $1 trillion infrastructure package last year, the most important gun reform law in a generation, a big science and semiconductor competition package, a bill to help veterans. exposed pits and a vote to admit Finland and Sweden to NATO amid a challenge to Russia.

“Mitch McConnell and fellow Republicans stood with Big Oil, stood with Big Pharma to protect their bottom line, and we worked for years” to keep costs down, said Sen. Debbie Stabenow , D-Mich., head of the Democratic Policy Committee, told NBC News.

“This is a big moment here with these forces,” she said, “and everyone is going to win.”

Senator Cory Booker, DN.J., a radical and one-time 2020 presidential rival to Biden, also noted recent congressional strides.

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