UNITED STATES: The U.S. Senate on Sunday passed a comprehensive $430 billion bill that aims to combat climate change, lower drug prices, and raise some corporate taxes, giving President Joe Biden a significant victory that Democrats hope will improve their chances of keeping control of Congress in this year’s elections.
The Senate approved the Inflation Reduction Act on a party-line vote of 51–50 after a marathon 27-hour weekend session of debate and Republican attempts to stall the measure. Vice President Kamala Harris cast the deciding vote.
The action advances the legislation to the House of Representatives for a vote, which is most likely to happen on Friday when lawmakers expect to return during a summer break temporarily.
The law will then be sent to the White House for Biden’s signature if they approve it, which is anticipated. Biden said in a statement that he was eager to sign the legislation into law.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer exclaimed with his fists pumping in the air, “The Senate is making history,” as Democrats applauded and their staff workers gave the vote a standing ovation.
“To Americans who’ve lost faith that Congress can do big things, this bill is for you. This bill is going to change America for decades,” he said.
To combat climate change and lower consumer costs for electricity and some medications, Schumer claimed that the proposal contained “the boldest clean energy package in American history.”
Republicans have attacked Democrats vehemently due to the $430 billion in increased expenditure and almost $740 billion in new income contained in the package.
However, Democrats are hoping its passage will support the party’s House and Senate candidates in the November 8 midterm elections when Biden is dealing with low public support and high inflation.
The act aims to lower carbon emissions, encourage the use of green energy, lower the cost of prescription drugs for the elderly, and enforce tax laws more strictly for corporations and the wealthy.
Inflation is a financial burden that has also weighed on Democrats’ aspirations of keeping control of the legislature in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election. Still, they claim that this measure will help reduce it.
Republicans have criticised the legislation as a job-killing, left-wing spending wish list that might impede growth when the economy is in danger of recession because they claim it will not handle inflation.
Democrats passed the law through a parliamentary technique called reconciliation, which enables budget-related legislation to pass on a simple majority rather than the 60-vote requirement for most bills in the 100-seat body.
The Senate started a rapid-fire “vote-a-rama” on Democratic and Republican amendments on Saturday evening after many hours of debate, which continued into Sunday afternoon.
More than 30 Republican amendments, points of order, and attempts to block the law were rejected by Democrats.
Any alteration to the bill’s text brought about by an amendment may have destroyed the Democratic coalition of 50 senators required to keep the legislation moving.
After the session, senators were scheduled to take a break for an August vacation.
Democrats could not secure enough support to keep a reconciliation-exempt measure that would have limited the skyrocketing price of insulin at $35 per month on the private health insurance market.
Democrats claimed that the plan would continue to cap insulin costs for Medicare beneficiaries.
Democrats claimed the plan would continue to cap insulin costs for Medicare beneficiaries.
In order to advance the legislation, senior assistant Steve Richetti maintained contact with Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia during the past few months. According to a White House official, Biden also made calls to senators over the weekend.
“It required many compromises. Doing important things almost always does,” Biden said in a statement.