Sen. Joe Manchin (L) with Sen. Chuck Schumer (R) | Photo Credit: Patrick Semansky/AP
Sunday afternoon, when the Senate passes the bill that appropriates over $750 billion in health care and tax and climate bill. The feat marks another victory for President Joe Biden and his coalition.
The Senate voted on the bill in a close 51-50 bout – US Vice President Kamala Harris held the tie-breaker vote. It took months of deliberations and debate until the bill reached its third reading before the panel. It would give the Democrats the chance to create policy changes and goals that could help them with their bid for the midterm elections.
The Lower House, which the Democrats primarily hold, will tackle the bill this 12th of August, Friday. The Democrat-controlled House would have to favor the bill before it can be sent to Biden for signing.
What the bill provides
If passed into law, the Inflation Reduction Act bill would have been the biggest climate investment in the history of the US. It could potentially be a game changer in the healthcare policy of the US since it would allow Medicare to impose changes in the prices of prescription drugs; moreover, the bill allows authorities to extend the subsidies of health care for another three years.
More tax revenue to the state would come in as corporate tax will be increased to 15% at the minimum and another 1% on tax buybacks. The law would simultaneously give more authority to the Internal Revenue in the collection of taxes, meaning tax delinquents would be reprimanded should they disobey the new provisions provided for by the bill.
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Within just 10 years, the bill would have raised more than $700 bn in tax revenue – which would be poured into reducing carbon emissions and extending health insurance subsidies. Under the provisions of the bill, the aforementioned items will be given around $430 billion.
One of the principal sponsors of the bill, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said that the bill he wrote and sponsored was balanced enough to benefit both citizens and the county.
“I think we’ll all benefit from it; the country will. We have energy security; that’s what we were looking for. And we have the ability to invest in the energy of the future,” the senator told the press.
Meanwhile, Biden expressed delight over the result of the voting. He thanked his fellow Democrats for breathing life to a bill similar to what he and other Democrats tried to pass previously.
“Today, Senate Democrats sided with American families over special interests, voting to lower the cost of prescription drugs, health insurance, and everyday energy costs and reduce the deficit while making the wealthiest corporations finally pay their fair share,” Biden stated.
Climate crisis mitigation to be funded by the bill
Economists have varying opinions on the ability of the bill to counter the existing instigators of the climate crisis in the country. However, if properly executed, as mandated by the bill, its provisions would greatly impact the reduction of carbon emissions.
The bill includes a more than $370 billion subsidy for clean energy and the climate. The figure is the biggest climate investment in the history of US legislation since the enactment of the US Clean Air Act. According to experts, the bill was passed when the country was ravaged by the intense heat brought about by heat waves. Now that the bill only needs to pass the Democrat-filled House, the climate subsidy should help mitigate the effects of climate-related issues in the US.
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, one of the main sponsors of the bill alongside Sen. Manchin, said that the bill’s primary goal is the reduction of carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.
Biden earlier pushed for 50% by 2030. However, the president’s vision could only be possible with tighter regulations on big corporations and other factors that heavily contribute to global warming.
“This isn’t about the laws of politics, this is about the laws of physics. We all knew coming into this effort that we had to do what the science tells us what we need to do,” stated Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii.