House Democrats pass spending bill in latest Biden win | Policy

House Democrats voted on Friday to pass a landmark climate, health care and tax bill that is expected to deliver on years-long Democratic Party promises in a major U-turn after the legislation appeared doomed to failed just a few weeks ago.

“Today is truly a glorious day for us,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said Friday. “We are sending to the president’s office a monumental bill that will truly be for the people – the Inflation Reduction Act.”

Returning briefly from their August recess to resume the bill, lawmakers 220-207 vote along party lines signed on the legislation after a debate that went over its allotted time by three hours on Friday. The legislation is now heading to President Joe Biden’s desk where he is expected to sign it within days.

The $740 billion bill, which is the centerpiece of Biden’s economic agenda and is expected to raise enough money to pay for itself, includes provisions to tackle prescription drug prices, energy costs and corporate taxes and would mark a historic investment in climate protection, with a target of reducing emissions by 40% by 2030.

“It’s a kitchen table problem,” Pelosi said, pointing out how it helps negotiate prescription drug prices with Medicare, lock in lower premiums under the Affordable Care Act, and create millions of “good-paying jobs”, in addition to reducing energy costs. and deficit reduction.

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Even so, it’s much narrower than a similar — but even more ambitious — measure the House approved last year. That reality threatened to cause problems for Democrats as they voted on the slimmed-down version of the spending package, with progressives expressing frustration over its scope. But on Friday, Democrats voted en bloc, while some pledged to fix the bill’s flaws at a later date.

Indeed, the bill’s journey through the House has been relatively straightforward — passing without too much friction or fanfare on Friday, as opposed to the long and hard-fought path it took in the Senate.

Just weeks ago, Democrats’ ambitions on the legislation seemed all but dead, after Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he would not support elements of the climate change bill. But in a surprise U-turn after months of negotiations, Manchin struck a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York late last month to move the package forward.

Just days before the chamber begins its August recess, the race was on to finalize the legislation and win the support of the latest holdout, Senator Kyrsten Sinema. The Arizona Democrat for a week left Washington wondering as she remained silent on the bill. But as time ticked on for the legislation, Sinema signaled his support in no time.

With Manchin and Sinema’s backing, the stars had lined up for the Democrats, who hold a slim majority in the Senate, giving every Democratic lawmaker the power to make or break high-stakes legislation. They were instrumental in passing the bill that gives Democrats a boost ahead of the midterm elections just three months away, in which control of both houses of Congress will be at stake.

Like Senate Republicans, GOP lawmakers in the House criticized the legislation, saying it would increase inflation and further worsen Americans’ economic fortunes.

Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado called the legislation a “scam game” and its supporters “crazy.”

“Remember that so-called bipartisan infrastructure bill?” Boebert said. “I guess it was just a down payment on this endless theft of American taxpayers’ money. You are sacrificing American families on the altar of climate change.

Republicans also repeatedly pointed to the legislation’s increased funding for the Internal Revenue Service, reiterating a claim that the bill would deploy more than 80,000 IRS agents to audit average Americans.

But Democrats pushed back on those claims, pointing to the bigger picture and touting the legislation as a victory for the American people over special interest groups, especially with its health care components.

“We’ve been trying for decades to win — to get legislation to allow the secretary to negotiate lower prices,” Pelosi said. “Big Pharma has had a stranglehold on Congress, so we haven’t been able to do that so far.”

Pelosi’s comments are in line with the new message the White House shared on Thursday, which seeks to leverage congressional Democrats’ success on the legislation into medium-term gains.

A White House memo on the president’s next messaging strategy suggested that with the legislation, Democrats have won over special interest groups like Big Pharma, which has previously blocked actions to cut prescription drug prices, as well as large corporations that have dodged paying taxes. He also portrays congressional Republicans, who tried to block passage of the legislation, as “siding on the side of special interests and the super-rich.”

Biden and his team plan to travel across the country after the bill touting the new message is signed, with the Cut Inflation Act at the helm, in an apparent effort to change the narrative of inflation. inflation that for months has weighed most heavily on Americans and been the most touted. prominently by Republicans as both parties try to win the support of working-class voters in future terms.

“That is the choice before the American people,” the memo reads. “President Biden and congressional Democrats are taking care of special interests for you and your family. Or the extreme MAGA agenda of congressional Republicans that serves the wealthy, corporations and themselves.

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