Senate Democrats passed a sprawling package Sunday aimed at lowering health-care costs, raising taxes on corporations, reducing the federal budget deficit and injecting a historic burst of cash into efforts to combat climate change.
“The bill will mean $20 billion going directly to family farmers and ranchers to help with the climate crisis for programs like land conservation, water sensors, and no-till farming,” said NDP Chair Jane Kleeb. “The government will finally be able to negotiate prescription drug prices with big pharmaceutical companies for families on Medicare and Medicaid. Unfortunately, Sens. Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer helped block a provision that would have made insulin accessible to every Nebraskan for only $35 a month. The Republican party simply does not care about the people. All the Republicans care about is their party label and protecting big corporations.”
The final, party-line vote was 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.
Dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the package would authorize the biggest burst of spending in U.S. history to tackle global warming — roughly $370 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below their 2005 levels by the end of this decade. The proposal also would make good on Democrats’ years-old pledge to reduce prescription drug costs for the elderly.
In part by tweaking federal tax laws — chiefly to target tax cheats and some billion-dollar companies that now pay nothing to the government — the bill is expected to raise enough money to cover its new spending. Democrats say the measure is also expected to generate an additional $300 billion for reducing projected budget deficits over the next 10 years, though they have not yet furnished a final fiscal analysis of their legislation.
President Biden issued a statement: “Today, Senate Democrats sided with American families over special interests, voting to lower the cost of prescription drugs, health insurance, and everyday energy costs and reduce the deficit, while making the wealthiest corporations finally pay their fair share.”