The U.S. Senate has passed a sweeping $430 billion bill intended to fight climate change, lower drug prices and raise corporate taxes.
The new bill comes after a marathon, 27-hour weekend session of debate and Republican efforts to derail the package. The bill is a major victory for US President Joe Biden who hopes the bill will help their chances of keeping control of Congress in this year’s elections.
The Senate approved the legislation known as the Inflation Reduction Act by a 51-50 party line vote with Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking ballot.
The bill will now go to the House of Representatives for a vote, which is expected to pass before it goes to the White House for Biden’s signature. “It required many compromises. Doing important things almost always does,” Biden said in a statement.
The legislation is aimed at reducing carbon emissions and shifting consumers to green energy, while cutting prescription drug costs for the elderly and tightening enforcement on taxes for corporations and the wealthy.
Because the measure pays for itself and reduces the federal deficit over time, Democrats contend that it will help bring down inflation
“The Senate is making history,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, after pumping his fists in the air as Democrats cheered and their staff members responded to the vote with a standing ovation.
“To Americans who’ve lost faith that Congress can do big things, this bill is for you,” he said. “This bill is going to change America for decades.”
Schumer said the legislation contains “the boldest clean energy package in American history” to fight climate change while reducing consumer costs for energy and some medicines.