The chamber approves a broad package of climate, tax and health services

House Democrats passed their sweeping tax, climate and health care bill on Friday, sending the $740 billion bill to President Biden’s desk and giving Democrats a major victory less than three months before the midterm elections.

The bill, called the Inflation Reduction Act, passed the House on a party-line vote of 220-207. Four Republicans abstained, while every Democrat voted yes.

House Democrats erupted in cheers and applause as the bill officially passed

The House passage came four days after the Senate approved the bill on a party-line vote, with Vice President Harris casting the deciding vote.

President Biden wrote further Twitter On Friday afternoon, he will sign the bill next week.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) touted the bill during Friday’s debate, saying it would “save the planet by keeping more money in your pockets.”

“This bill, the Lower Inflation Act, a package for the people, strengthens the influence of the public interest over special interests and expands health and financial security now and for generations to come,” she added.

The passage through Congress marks the culmination of more than a year of negotiations between Senate Democrats over the spending package.

The legislation would raise taxes on corporations, address climate change and lower prescription drug prices while reducing the deficit.

Specifically, the package includes $369 billion in energy security and climate investments, as well as $64 billion to expand Affordable Care Act subsidies over two years.

The bill offers incentives for businesses and consumers to make cleaner energy choices, including the use of lower-carbon and carbon-free energy, and creates new programs to promote climate investments.

On the health side, the measure would allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices for 10 high-cost drugs starting in 2026. This number is expected to increase to 20 drugs by 2029. In addition, the measure allows for limits on some drug costs, but mainly for Medicare.

To pay for the legislation, Democrats imposed a 15 percent minimum income tax that large corporations report to their shareholders. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, it will affect only about 150 companies.

The bill also allocates $80 billion to strengthen oversight of the Internal Revenue Service and ensure that wealthy individuals and corporations do not evade taxes. In addition, the bill includes a 1 percent excise tax on share buybacks.

The bill’s passage ends more than a year of negotiations between Senate Democrats, who have worked to reach a consensus on the spending package but have repeatedly failed due to intra-party divisions.

However, the Senate finally achieved a breakthrough late last month when Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) and centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) announced a deal on a tax-and-spending package. The Senate finally approved the bill Sunday through budget reconciliation, a process that allowed Democrats to pass the measure with a simple majority, bypassing what would likely have been a Republican filibuster.

All House Democrats supported the bill, including Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), the only member of his party who opposed the larger House-approved measure, which was blocked by Manchin in the Senate.

In a statement before the vote, Golden called the final Inflation Reduction Act “common sense legislation” and “fiscally responsible.”

Some progressive lawmakers complained that the bill was not as broad as they had hoped, but eventually the entire caucus came together to support the measure.

House lawmakers took a summer break to return to Washington to finish work on the bill and send it to Biden.

House Minority Representative Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) began opposing the bill on Tuesday, criticizing the bill, which his office described as the “Inflation, Recession and IRS Army Act” in a memo to House GOP offices.

In a roughly 50-minute speech on the House floor Friday, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called the law a “flawed, dead bill,” criticizing it for inflationary problems and drawing attention to high prices in the United States.

During the debate, Republicans also objected to a provision to allocate $80 billion to the IRS to strengthen enforcement.

“Democrats, more than any other majority in history, are addicted to spending other people’s money, regardless of what we as a country can afford,” McCarthy said on the House floor.

“Today they decided to end the session by spending half a trillion dollars more of your money, raising taxes on the middle class and handing out handouts to their liberal allies,” he added.

Updated at 6:51 p.m

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.