US President Joe Biden signed a $430 billion bill – the Inflation Reduction Act – that is the largest climate package in US history, which stipulates cutting domestic greenhouse gas emissions, lowering prescription drug prices and high inflation, which the Federal Reserve said will become rooted in the US economy. The bill is a reduced version of the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better plan that Biden proposed last year.
The legislation, which was put forward by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, will invest $369 billion in climate and energy policies, with $64 billion allocated to extend a policy under the Affordable Care Act to reduce health insurance costs. There will also be a 15% corporate minimum tax for companies earning over $1 billion a year.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin’s support for passing the Inflation Reduction Act was a crucial part of the signing, as Biden sat at a White House event surrounded by other Democratic leaders. Manchin had previously blockaded a number of larger measures pushed by the White House; however, he complimented the bill as a “balanced bill.”
Biden took the opportunity to criticize Republicans during the signing: “In this historic moment, Democrats sided with the American people and every single Republican sided with the special interests,” said Biden. “Every single Republican in Congress voted against this bill.”
The legislation to combat climate change and lower prescription drug prices looks to cut domestic greenhouse emissions, essentially enabling Medicare to lower drug prices for the elderly and enforce corporates and the wealthy to pay taxes they owe.
A report published in April wrote that floods, fire, and drought caused by climate change might consume a large portion of the US government budget each year by the end of the century, according to the White House in its first-ever report regarding the issue. The research estimated that the upper range of climate change’s impact on the budget by the end of the century could total 7.1% annual revenue loss, equal to $2 trillion in today’s money.
Democrats contend that the legislation will also fight inflation by reducing the federal deficit, which independent economists are saying will take years to achieve.
Republicans have been skeptical of the legislation for the reason that it does little to lower prices, with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell arguing that the legislation will hold opposite of the desired impact.
“Democrats robbed Americans last year by spending our economy into record inflation. This year, their solution is to do it a second time. The partisan bill President Biden signed into law today means higher taxes, higher energy bills, and aggressive IRS audits,” he said, referring to the Internal Revenue Service.
Source: Agencies (edited by Al-Manar English Website)