U.S. Senate Passes $430 Billion Inflation Reduction Act

The U.S. Senate on Sunday passed the $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act aimed at fighting climate change, lowering drug prices and raising some corporate taxes. It is considered a major victory for Biden at a time when Democrats are scrambling to keep their control of Congress in November’s midterm elections. The Senate approved the legislation after 27 hours of debate and despite Republican efforts to derail the package. It was approved by a 51-50 party line vote after Vice President Harris cast the tie-breaking ballot.

The legislation will now be sent to the House of Representatives for a vote, likely on Friday when the House plans to reconvene briefly during a summer recess. It is expected to pass from the House, and then be sent to White House for Biden’s signature to become law. Biden said he was looking forward to signing the bill into law.

Senate Majority Leader Schumer said the bill would change the United States for decades, adding that it contains the boldest clean energy package in the history of the U.S.

Republicans criticized the Democrats harshly over the legislation’s $430 billion in new spending and roughly $740 billion in new revenue.

Nevertheless, Democrats hope its passage will help the party’s House and Senate candidates in the Nov. 8 midterm elections at a time when Biden’s approval ratings have suffered amid high inflation.

The legislation is aimed at reducing carbon emissions and shifting consumers to green energy, while cutting prescription drug costs for the elderly and tightening enforcement on taxes for corporations and the wealthy.

Democrats think the bill will help bring down inflation as it pays for itself and reduces the federal deficit over time. Inflation has become a political problem for the Democrats, who will fight to retain its legislative control after the midterms.

Republicans, arguing that the bill will not address inflation, have denounced the measure as a job-killing, left-wing spending wish list that could undermine growth when the economy is in danger of falling into recession.

Democrats approved the bill by using a parliamentary maneuver called reconciliation, which allows budget-related legislation to avoid the 100-seat chamber’s 60-vote threshold for most bills and pass on a simple majority.

The bill was 18 months in the making as Biden’s original Build Back Better plan was whittled down in the face of opposition from Republicans and key legislators from his own party.

“It required many compromises. Doing important things almost always does,” Biden said in a statement.

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