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Sens. Manchin & Schumer Reach Surprise Budget & Climate Deal To Fight Inflation

A week and a half after centrist Sen. Joe Manchin‘s (D-West Virginia) long-held talks with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) seemed to narrow to a limited health care deal, the two reached a surprise agreement on a reconciliation package that includes major climate and economic provisions of President Joe Biden‘s deconstructed Build Back Better social spending bill.

“It’s like two brothers from different mothers, I guess. He gets pissed off, I get pissed off, and we’ll go back and forth. He basically put out statements, and the dogs came after me again,” Manchin after the deal, titled  th3 Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, was announced on Wednesday. “We just worked through it.”

If passed, Manchin and Schumer’s bill will designate around $370 billion towards energy and climate spending, reform prescription drug pricing by allowing Medicare to negotiate fees on select medications and increase taxes on businesses and investments.

The bill is scheduled to be voted on by the Senate next week. It is expected to pass, as a reconciliation bill avoids the filibuster threshold of 60 and needs only a majority vote. The Democrats have that in the evenly split Senate with the tie-breaker in Vice President Kamala Harris, though it should be noted that another centrist Democrat, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona), has not yet confirmed if she will support the package.

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Biden thanked Manchin and Schumer for their efforts.

“This is the action the American people have been waiting for,” he wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “This addresses the problems of today – high health care costs and overall inflation – as well as investments in our energy security for the future.”

The president is also expected to give a speech on Thursday at noon to address the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 from the White House.

Rose Carter

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