US Senate passes $430 billion climate and health plan

This envelope includes the largest investment ever made in the United States for the climate with the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.

After 18 months of negotiations and a marathon night of debates, the US Senate passed Joe Biden’s grand plan on climate and health on Sunday, delivering a significant milestone victory for the president, less than 100 days from crucial elections. .

By their votes alone, Democrats have approved the more than $430 billion plan, which will return next week to the House of Representatives for a final vote, before being signed into law by Joe Biden. All Republican senators voted against the text, baptized “Inflation Reduction Act», and which they accuse on the contrary of generating useless public expenditure.

«The road has been long, hard and winding“, underlined the leader of the Democrats in the Senate Chuck Schumer, just before the vote, greeted by thunderous applause in his camp. “Many compromises had to be made. Doing important things almost always requires it“, said Joe Biden in a press release, welcoming the passage of the bill in the Senate and urging the House of Representatives to adopt the text without delay.

$370 billion

The result of difficult compromises with the right wing of the Democratic Party, this envelope includes the largest investment ever committed in the United States for the climate: 370 billion dollars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by to 2030. With this reform, an American would receive up to 7,500 dollars in tax credits for the purchase of an electric car. The installation of solar panels on its roof would be covered at 30%.

This envelope must also make it possible to strengthen the resilience of the forests in the face of the monster fires which are ravaging the American West and whose multiplication has been directly attributed to global warming. Several billion dollars in tax credits will also be offered to the most polluting industries in order to assist them in their energy transition, a measure strongly criticized by the left wing of the party, which had to line up behind this text, for lack of reaching a more ambitious agreement after long months of negotiations.

Coming to power with immense ambitions for reform, Joe Biden saw them be buried, resurrected, then buried again by a very moderate senator from his camp, Joe Manchin. In view of the very thin Democratic majority in the Senate, the elected representative of West Virginia has virtually a right of veto over his projects.

At the end of July, the leader of the Democrats in the Senate Chuck Schumer finally succeeded in wresting a compromise from Joe Manchin, known for his coal mines. On Saturday, the senators finally began to debate the text in the hemicycle.

«Vote-a-rama»

In the evening, the elected officials entered a marathon procedure called “vote-a-ramain which they can propose dozens of amendments and demand a vote on each one. The opportunity for the Republican opposition, which considers the Biden plan too expensive and the Democratic left wing, which would like it more ambitious, to present their grievances. Influential left-wing senator Bernie Sanders proposed several amendments overnight intended to strengthen the social component of the text, which in recent months has been considerably trimmed.

In the state, the text provides for 64 billion dollars of investment in health and the gradual reduction in the price of certain drugs, which can be up to ten times more expensive than in other rich countries. But progressives had to abandon their ambitions of free public kindergartens and universities and better care for the elderly.

«Millions of retirees will continue to have rotten teeth and not get the dentures, hearing aids or glasses they deserve“, Criticized Mr. Sanders from the hemicycle. “This bill does nothing to solve this problem“, assured the former presidential candidate. But the Democratic camp, anxious to implement this plan before the perilous legislative elections in November, united and rejected any modification of the text.

In parallel with these massive investments, the bill intends to reduce the public deficit with a new minimum tax of 15% for all companies whose profits exceed one billion dollars. It aims to prevent certain large companies from using the tax loopholes which have allowed them to pay far less than the theoretical rate.

It is estimated that this measure could generate more than $258 billion in US federal revenue over the next 10 years.

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