House Democrats passed their sweeping tax, climate and health bill on Friday, sending the $740 billion bill to President Biden’s desk and securing a significant victory for Democrats less than three months before the midterm elections.
The bill, titled the Inflation Reduction Act, passed the House of Representatives by a margin of 220 to 207. Four Republicans did not vote, while all Democrats voted in support.
House Democrats erupted in cheers and applause when the law was officially passed
The passage came four days after the Senate approved the bill in a party-line vote, with Vice President Harris casting the casting vote.
President Biden continued to write Twitter Friday afternoon that he will sign the bill next week.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the bill during Friday’s debate in the House of Representatives, arguing that it “saves the planet while keeping more cash in our pockets.”
“This law, the Anti-Inflation Act, a package for the people, increases the leverage of the public interest over the special interest and expands health and financial security now and for generations to come,” she added.
The passage through Congress marks the culmination of more than a year of negotiations between Senate Democrats over a spending package.
The legislation will increase taxes on businesses, address climate change and lower prescription drug prices, all while reducing the deficit.
Specifically, the package includes $369 billion for energy security and climate protection investments, and $64 billion for two-year expansions in Affordable Care Act subsidies.
The bill provides incentives for businesses and consumers to make cleaner energy choices, including the use of lower-carbon and zero-carbon energy, and creates new programs that encourage investments in climate protection.
In healthcare, the measure will allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices for 10 high-priced drugs starting in 2026. By 2029, this number is expected to increase to 20 drugs. In addition, the measure allows some drug costs to be capped, but mostly for Medicare.
To pay for the legislation, Democrats have written a minimum tax of 15 percent on the income big companies report to their shareholders. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, only about 150 companies would be affected.
The bill also provides $80 billion to improve enforcement at the Internal Revenue Service to ensure wealthy individuals and businesses don’t evade taxes. Additionally, an excise tax of 1 percent on share buybacks is included in the bill.
Passing the bill concludes more than a year of negotiations between Senate Democrats who had been working to reach consensus on a spending package but were stalled on several occasions by intra-party disagreements.
However, the Senate finally got a breakthrough late last month when Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) and centrist Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) announced a deal for the tax and spending package. The Senate finally approved this legislation Sunday through a budget vote, a process that allowed Democrats to pass the measure with a simple majority, bypassing what likely would have been a Republican filibuster.
Every House Democrat supported the bill, including Rep. Jared Golden (Maine), the only member of his party to oppose an earlier, major measure approved by the House of Representatives and blocked by Manchin in the Senate.
Golden called the final anti-inflation bill “common sense legislation” and “fiscally responsible” in a statement before the vote.
Some progressive lawmakers had grumbled that the bill wasn’t as broad as they had hoped, but eventually the entire faction came together to support the measure.
House lawmakers broke their summer break to return to Washington to complete work on the bill and send it to Biden.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) began whipping the bill Tuesday, slamming the bill — which his office described as “inflationary, recessionary and IRS army legislation” — in a memo to GOP offices of the House.
In a roughly 50-minute speech on the House floor on Friday, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called the legislation a “misguided, toneless bill”, slammed it over inflation concerns and drew attention to increased prices in the US
Republicans also questioned the provision allocating $80 billion to the IRS to strengthen enforcement during the debate.
“More than any majority in history, Democrats are addicted to spending other people’s money, regardless of what we as a country can afford,” McCarthy said on the House floor.
“Today they choose to end the session by spending half a trillion dollars more of your money, raising taxes on the middle class and handing out handouts to their liberal allies,” he added.
Updated at 6:51 p.m