A 50-50 stalemate was broken by Harris to move forward with a landmark climate, tax, and health plan
A 50-50 stalemate was broken by Harris to move forward with a landmark climate, tax, and health plan, On Saturday afternoon, the Senate held a vote along party lines to advance a comprehensive bill to reform the tax code, tackle climate change, and lower the cost of prescription drugs. With this vote, the Senate moved a significant step closer to giving President Biden a major victory before the midterm elections in November.
After Vice President Harris arrived at the Capitol to cast the vote that would break the tie, the Senate proceeded to vote 51-50 in favour of moving on to the 755-page bill.
Following the vote, the law is now in a position to be approved by the Senate on Sunday, barring any unforeseen obstacles, such as the unexpected absence of a Democrat senator.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) praised the bill’s imminent passage as a significant victory and called it a big accomplishment.
“The Senate should now commence its debate on this landmark piece of legislation, since the moment for doing so has arrived. Schumer stated on the floor shortly before the vote that the Inflation Reduction Act is a groundbreaking initiative for the American people, for families trying to pay the bills, for elderly having to pay for medication, and for children battling with asthma.
He declared, “This is one of the most complete and consequential acts Congress has seen in decades,” saying that it would reduce inflation, lower drug costs, fight climate change, and remove tax loopholes. “This is one of the most comprehensive and impactful bills Congress has seen in decades.”
After the vote on the procedural motion, there will be twenty hours of debate that will be equally split between Democrats and Republicans. This will be followed by a vote-a-rama, which is an open-ended series of amendment votes.
However, members of both parties anticipate that they will give back the majority of the time in order to move on to examining amendments in a more timely manner.
The Republicans in the Senate anticipate votes on between forty and fifty amendments.
A concluding vote is scheduled to take place later on Sunday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) argued that the legislation “will kill American jobs and hammer our manufacturing sector” and “have no meaningful impact on global temperatures whatsoever.” He also claimed that the legislation “will have no meaningful impact on global temperatures.”
He cautioned that making Medicare responsible for negotiating lower drug pricing would be detrimental to the pharmaceutical industry’s research and development efforts.
“The approach will usher in a future in which significantly fewer pharmaceuticals and cures are invented in the first place,” he said. “This is a world I do not want to live in.”
By requiring votes on issues such as border security, domestic energy production, inflation, and crime, Republicans hope to inflict as much electoral damage as possible on Democratic incumbents who are politically vulnerable, such as Senators Mark Kelly (Arizona) and Raphael Warnock (Georgia).
The Democrats have a plan of their own to compel the Republicans to take a difficult vote on the subject of capping the out-of-pocket costs of insulin bills at $35 per month, and it will work.
They are planning to appeal a decision made by the parliamentarian of the Senate that ruled against a measure introduced by Warnock to put a price cap on insulin. Democrats believe that Republicans who vote to uphold an objection to the insulin provision are undermining an effort to combat inflation and to assist people in the United States who suffer from diabetes.
The broader proposal will produce around $740 billion in income by putting a 1 percent excise tax on stock buybacks, allowing Medicare to negotiate cheaper pricing for prescription drugs, and adopting a corporate minimum tax of 15 percent.
After obtaining an updated analysis of the bill from the Congressional Budget Office on Saturday, the Senate agreed to begin debate on the Inflation Reduction Act. This came after the Senate received the report (CBO). According to projections provided by the CBO, the plan will bring the deficit down by $100 billion over the following decade.
Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin (Democratic Party of West Virginia), who negotiated the plan, claim that it will reduce the deficit by more than $300 billion over the course of ten years.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), along with Sen. Chuck Schumer, bargained for a provision that will exempt corporations in all industries from having to pay the full expensing deductions. As a result, the corporate minimum tax will bring in an additional $258 billion in revenue.
It is predicted that the government will save $288 billion over the next 10 years by granting Medicare the right to negotiate cheaper prescription prices, while it is projected that the excise tax on stock buybacks will raise $74 billion.
Enhancing the operations of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and increasing the enforcement of tax compliance will bring in an additional 124 billion dollars in revenue.
It would spend that amount on energy security and climate change programmes, which are predicted to reduce U.S. emissions that contribute to global warming by 40 percent by the year 2030.
It would give funding for refunds for residential energy use by consumers, subsidies to improve the energy efficiency of affordable housing, and tax credits to speed up the production of solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries in the United States.
It would provide large tax credits for the purchase of new and old electric vehicles. However, opponents of the bill argue that the benefits could not be used immediately since they do not apply to vehicles with batteries produced in China or vehicles that are dependent on Chinese minerals.
The subsidies for health insurance premiums that are about to expire under the Affordable Care Act would be extended for an additional three years at a cost of $64 billion.
On Saturday afternoon, a group of Democrats in the Senate worked to persuade their party’s colleagues to vote against supporting any amendments to the bill. This was done because supporting amendments to the bill could throw off the delicate compromise that Schumer and the two centrists who held out for months, Manchin and Sinema, had negotiated.
“I’m not voting for amendments. I’m doing everything I can to maintain this bill in good standing and get it out of this room. It is of insufficient importance.
Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, has stated that he intends to propose an amendment that would significantly expand Medicare’s capacity to negotiate cheaper prescription prices. Sanders estimates that this would raise $900 billion over the course of ten years.
He wants to utilise the money to expand Medicare by lowering the eligibility age to sixty and providing comprehensive dental, vision, and hearing services. His goal is to do this by decreasing the qualifying age to sixty.