Senate Democrats Pass Budget, Biden Wins

Democrats pushed an election-year economic package through the Senate on Sunday. While this is less ambitious than President Joe Biden’s original domestic vision, it still meets deep-seated party goals to slow global warming, ease drug costs and tax giant corporations.

The estimated $740 billion package sits next to the House, with lawmakers poised to deliver on Biden’s priorities. Cheers erupted as the votes were tied later.

In a statement from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, President Joe Biden said, “Today, Senate Democrats stood by America’s Families over Special Interests.” And that’s what this bill is for.”

Biden, who had a long night as a senator for 30 years, called the Senate cloakroom during the vote on speakerphone and personally thanked the staff for their hard work.

The president asked the House of Representatives to pass the bill as soon as possible. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her congress would “move quickly to get this bill to the president’s desk.” A House vote is scheduled for Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) said ahead of the final vote, “It’s been a long, bumpy, winding road, but we’re finally here.

“The Senate is making history.

Senators participated in a round-the-clock voting marathon that began on Saturday and continued until late Sunday afternoon. Democrats have rejected about 30 Republican amendments aimed at undermining the bill. Confronting a unanimous Republican opposition, Democratic unity is maintained in a 50-to-50 House, and congressional control is at stake. continued walking.

The bill ran into trouble at noon over challenges to the new 15% minimum corporate tax rate that private equity firms and other industries hate, forcing a last-minute change.

Despite the temporary setback, the Cut Inflation Act gives Democrats a campaign-season showcase to act toward their coveted goals. This includes the largest federal commitment to climate change yet (nearly $400 billion), capping Medicare seniors’ out-of-pocket drug costs to $2,000 a year, and helping 13 million people live healthier lives. We will extend the expiration date of the subsidy so that you can enroll in insurance. By raising corporate taxes and enjoying savings from the long-standing goal of allowing the government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare, the entire package would be paid for and about $300 billion in additional revenue for deficit reduction. increase.

More than one-tenth the size of Biden’s first decade’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Initiative, the new package is an extension of previous proposals for universal preschool, paid family leave, and child care. We are abandoning the expansion of support and so on. That plan fell apart after conservative Senator Joe. Manchin, DW.Va. objected to this, saying it would be too costly and would fuel inflation.

Bipartisan analysts say the 755-page Inflation Reduction Act will have little impact on the surge in consumer prices.

Republicans said the new measures would undermine an economy that policymakers are struggling to stem from plummeting into recession. He said it would make it harder for people to deal with the worst inflation since the 1980s.

“Democrats have already robbed American families with inflation, and now their solution is to rob American families a second time,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R- Ky claimed.

In the ordeal of most budget bills like this one, the Senate has had to endure an overnight “llama vote” of rapid-fire amendments. Each tested the Democrats’ ability to piece together the compromises negotiated by Schumer, Progressive Manchin, enigmatic centrist Senator Kirsten Cinema, and D-Ariz.

Progressive Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) criticized the bill’s shortcomings and proposed amendments to further expand the law’s health benefits, but those efforts failed. rice field. Republicans have made it look like bullies that Democrats want stronger IRS tax law enforcement by forcing their own votes designed to downplay U.S. and Mexican border security and the cost of gasoline and energy.

Before the debate began, the bill’s prescription drug price restraints were diluted by bipartisan members of the Senate.

This was the bill’s primary protection for the 180 million people who have private health insurance through work or through their own purchases. Under a special procedure that allows Democrats to pass bills with a simple majority without the usual margin of 60 votes, that provision should focus more on budget figures in dollars and cents than on policy changes.

But the Democratic Party’s drug-pricing rhetoric remained the driving force. This includes negotiating how much Medicare pays its 64 million elderly beneficiaries for medicines, imposing penalties on manufacturers who exceed inflation on drugs sold to Medicare, It included a cap of $2,000 annually.

The bill also caps the cost of insulin, an expensive diabetes drug, to $35 a month for Medicare patients. Democrats wanted the $35 cap to extend to private insurers, but violated Senate rules. Most Republicans voted to remove it from the package, although seven Republican senators joined Democrats in trying to keep it, as a sign of the political potency of health care spending.

The final cost of the bill, which had been recalculated to reflect recent changes, would collectively raise more than $700 billion over 10 years. The funds will impose a 15% minimum tax on a small number of companies with more than $1 billion in annual profits, a 1% tax on companies that buy back their own shares, strengthen IRS tax collection, and help the government reduce drug costs. can be obtained by reducing and saving tax.

Cinema has forced Democrats to drop plans to prevent wealthy hedge fund managers from paying incomes below their personal income tax rate. She also worked with other Western senators to help combat drought in the region, earning her $4 billion.

Several Democratic senators joined a Republican-led effort to exempt some businesses from the new minimum corporate tax.

The package honors Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000 a year.

Where the compromise between progressives and Manchin, an advocate of fossil fuels and his state’s coal industry, was most evident was on the energy and environmental front.

Clean energy is promoted through tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles and the manufacture of solar panels and wind turbines. Funds will be provided for home energy rebates, to build factories that build clean energy technologies, and to promote climate-friendly farming practices and reduce pollution in minority communities.

Manchin calls for billions to help power plants cut carbon emissions, as well as demanding more government auctions for oil drilling on federal land and waters Party leaders have also pledged to push for another law this fall to accelerate the approval of energy projects. Manchin wants his state to include a nearly completed natural gas pipeline.

Still, environmental groups hailed the passage as a milestone.

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