The Senate has voted to approve the reconciliation measure known as the Inflation Reduction Act today, after spending well over 24 hours in continuous session so that senators could offer amendments that had no chance of passing. The final vote was 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie breaking vote. A last-minute change backed by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and every Republican sharply narrowed the bill’s proposed changes to the corporate minimum tax rate, which Democrats countered in turn with new limits to deductible corporate losses.
The House is expected to vote for final passage on Friday, sending the bill to the White House for President Biden’s signature.
President Biden has issued a statement praising the bill’s passage.
Though not nearly as comprehensive as the original Democratic climate crisis plan earlier scuttled by Sen. Joe Manchin, the bill makes significant investments in clean energy and in infrastructure defense against expected climate-related disasters. The bill is expected to help the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% of peak levels; still not enough, but a substantial improvement.
Republicans did succeed in making one notable change to the bill, however: All but seven Republican Senators voted to strip a provision placing a $35 price cap on insulin in private insurance plans. Because the Senate parliamentarian (confusingly) ruled that the price cap did not meet reconciliation rules, 60 votes were needed to keep the measure in the bill. Only 57 votes could be mustered.
It’s yet again not particularly clear why Senate Republicans felt it necessary to keep those insulin prices high, but the party has consistently voted against such measures.
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