Senate Democrats Pass Health Care & Climate Bill, With No GOP Support
Senate Democrats unified to pass Joe Biden‘s long-sought health care, tax and climate bill over the weekend in a 51-50 vote.
Vice President Kamala Harris served as the tiebreaker in the evenly split Senate to pass the $750 billion Inflation Reduction Act. It is aimed at combating climate change, investing in green energy programs and allowing Medicare to negotiate prices on prescription drugs for the first time. It also represents the largest commitment to fighting climate change by the U.S. government ever by delegating around $370 billion to the cause.
“Today, Senate Democrats voted to lower the cost of Rx drugs, health insurance, and energy — all while reducing the deficit and making the richest corporations pay their fair share,” Biden said in a statement on Sunday. “I ran to make government work for working families again. That’s what this bill does — period.”
Today, Senate Democrats voted to lower the cost of Rx drugs, health insurance, and energy — all while reducing the deficit and making the richest corporations pay their fair share.
I ran to make government work for working families again.
That’s what this bill does — period.
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 7, 2022
The Inflation Reduction Act, which is a cut-down version of Biden’s trillion-dollar social spending bill, faced months of negotiations and downsizing after centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) blocked Build Back Better last year. After Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) reached a surprise agreement late last month, the Democrats put their effort into getting moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) onboard. She announced that she was behind the bill after Democrats agreed to remove the carried interest tax provision.
In a 15-hour-long amendment process, lawmakers considered over 30 proposed changes to the bill and Senate Republicans were able to ax a provision that would have enacted a $35 monthly cap on the price of insulin in the private market. The provision failed to reach the 60-vote threshold a 57-43 vote.
Republicans remained unhappy with the bill.
“[Democrats’] response to the runaway inflation they’ve created is a bill that experts say will not meaningfully cut inflation at all,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said. “The American people are clear about their priorities. Environmental regulation is a 3% issue. Americans want solutions for inflation, crime, and the border.”
The bill heads to the House floor on Friday, where the Democrats have a majority.