12th August, 2022
U.S. House Democrats delivered another victory for President Joe Biden and their party on Friday by passing a sweeping tax, climate and health care bill.
They will now send the $740 billion legislation to Biden’s desk.
The bill effectively secures a significant victory for Democrats less than three months before the midterm elections.
Titled the Inflation Reduction Act, the bill passed the House in a 220-207 party-line vote. Four Republicans did not vote, while every Democrat voted in support.
House passage came four days after the Senate approved the bill in a party-line vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie-breaking vote.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi touted the bill on the House floor during debate on Friday, arguing that it “saves the planet while keeping more money in your pockets.”
“This bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, a package for the people, increases the leverage of the public interest over the special interests, and expands health and financial security now and for generations to come,” she added.
Passage through Congress marks the culmination of more than a year of negotiations among Senate Democrats on a spending package.
The legislation will increase taxes on corporations, address climate change and bring down the prices of prescription drugs, all while lowering the deficit.
The package specifically includes $369 billion in energy security and climate investments and $64 billion to expand Affordable Care Act subsidies for two years.
The bill offers incentives to businesses and consumers to make cleaner energy choices, including utilizing lower-carbon and carbon-free energy, and it creates new programs that will bolster investments in climate.
On the health care end, the measure will allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices for 10 high-cost drugs starting in 2026. By 2029, that number is expected to grow to 20 drugs. Additionally, the measure allows caps to be placed on some drug costs, but mainly for Medicare.
To pay for the legislation, Democrats have written in a 15 percent minimum tax on income that large corporations report to their shareholders. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, only about 150 firms would be affected.
The bill also allocates $80 billion to increase enforcement at the Internal Revenue Service and ensure that wealthy individuals and corporations are not evading taxes. Additionally, a one percent excise tax on stock buybacks is included in the bill.
Passage of the bill caps off more than a year of negotiations among Senate Democrats, who had been working to come to a consensus on a spending package but failed on a number of occasions due to intra-party disagreements.
Reported by thehill.com