Because of the Climate, the US Senate approved the "Biggest Investment in History"

Society » ENVIRONMENT | August 8, 2022, Monday // 13:40
Bulgaria: Because of the Climate, the US Senate approved the "Biggest Investment in History" Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

The US Senate passed a $369 million bill to fight climate change, lower drug prices and raise some corporate taxes. It's a big win for President Joe Biden, which Democrats hope will help their chances of retaining control of Congress in this year's elections, Reuters reports.

The BBC described the package as "the biggest investment in American history". It includes a goal to reduce the country's carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 (compared to 2005 levels).

After debate that lasted more than 24 hours over the weekend, and despite efforts by Republicans to derail the package, the Senate approved the legislation, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, on a 51-50 vote along party lines. Vice President Kamala Harris (who presides over the Senate) had the deciding vote.

The vote in the House of Representatives is likely to take place on Friday and will bring lawmakers into the chamber in the midst of their summer break. According to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the "history-making" legislation introduces "the boldest clean energy package in American history."

What is envisaged?

Because the document contains spending of 369 billion dollars (430 billion along with some measures other than climate) and new revenues of 740 billion euros, it was sharply criticized by the Republicans. Its goal is to reduce carbon emissions and redirect consumers to green energy.

Measures such as the possibility (for some households) of a tax credit for 7,500 dollars for the purchase of an electric car (4,000 - if it is second-hand) are foreseen. Such credits will also be available for the development of clean energy. It also envisions the creation of a "clean energy technology accelerator," along with aid to rebuild communities hit hardest by fossil fuel pollution.

Prescription drug costs for the elderly are also being reduced, with a cap on out-of-pocket co-payments. Tax rules on corporations and the wealthy are being tightened - a tool for financing these policies, which will raise $739 billion (which will reduce the US budget deficit by nearly $300 billion).

Before the midterm elections

With the text, Democrats hope to help themselves in the Nov. 8 midterm elections, as Biden struggles to deal with his low approval ratings amid high inflation. Democrats argue that inflation will fall under the new bill because the measures are self-financing and even reduce the federal deficit over time.

Republicans dispute that, arguing that the new rules will only kill jobs and hurt economic growth at a time when it is at risk of recession.

A legislative trick was used to allow budget-related texts to avoid the 60-vote threshold in the 100-member Senate, requiring only a simple majority.

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