The US Senate has passed landmark legislation aimed at slowing global warming, moderating pharmaceutical costs and taxing huge corporations.
The estimated $740 billion package is heading to the House, where lawmakers are poised to deliver on President Joe Biden’s priorities in a stunning turnaround for what appeared to be doomed proposals.
Cheers erupted as Senate Democrats united 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris voting for the tiebreaker after an all-night session.
“Today, Senate Democrats stood with American families for special interests,” Biden said in a statement from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. “I ran for president promising to make government work for working families again, and that’s what this bill does — period.”
The House looked likely to provide final congressional approval when it briefly returns from summer recess on Friday.
“It’s been a long, hard and winding road, but finally, we’ve finally arrived,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said ahead of the final votes.
“The Senate writes history. I am confident that the Inflation Reduction Act will remain one of the defining pieces of legislation of the 21st century.
Senators engaged in a round-the-clock voting marathon that began Saturday and stretched late into the afternoon of Sunday.
Democrats crushed three dozen Republican amendments intended to torpedo the legislation.
In the face of unanimous Republican opposition, Democratic unity in the 50-50 chamber held firm, keeping the party on course for a morale-boosting victory three months from the election when control of Congress hangs in the balance.
The bill ran into trouble midday over objections to the new 15% minimum corporate tax that private equity firms and other industries did not like, forcing last-minute changes.
Despite the momentary setback, the Cut Inflation Act gives Democrats a campaign season showcase to act on coveted goals.
It includes the largest-ever federal effort on climate change — nearly $400 billion — caps drug costs for seniors under Medicare at $2,000 a year and extends expired subsidies that help 13 million people afford health insurance.
By raising corporate taxes, the whole package is paid for, with some $300 billion in additional revenue for deficit reduction.
Just over a tenth the size of Mr. Biden’s original 10-year Build Back Better initiative, the new package abandons previous proposals for universal early education, paid family leave and expanded childcare assistance. child care.
The plan fell apart after conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin opposed it, saying it was too expensive and would fuel inflation.
Nonpartisan analysts said the Cut Inflation Act would have a minor effect on soaring consumer prices.
Republicans said the new measure would undermine an economy that policymakers are struggling to prevent from plunging into recession.
They said the bill’s business taxes would hurt job creation and drive up prices, making it harder for people to cope with the country’s worst inflation since the 1980s.
“The Democrats have already robbed American families once through inflation, and now their solution is to rob American families a second time,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.