Washington – President Biden signed theenacted in the White House on Tuesday, completing landmark legislation designed to tackle climate change, cut health care costs and increase taxes on businesses just weeks before the midterm elections.
The House and Senate passed the bill along the party line last week after Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reached an agreement after many months of negotiations. Both senators were present at Tuesday’s signing ceremony.
“Let me say right off the bat that with this legislation, the American people won and the special interests lost,” Biden told the crowd gathered at the White House. The President had to calm cabinet members, members of Congress and staff members in the audience as they continued to cheer and clap after he took the rostrum.
Passing the bill took many months and seemed unlikely in a year of a 50-50 Senate and the fast-approaching midterm election. It realizes long-held goals for Democrats to lower prescription drug costs and invest in the clean energy transition.
“It was one of the few truly historic days in the 30 years I’ve been in Congress,” said Jim Clyburn, the House Democratic whip, alongside Mr. Biden, praising the president’s legislative accomplishments.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the legislation came amid “one of the most productive stretches in Senate history” in which Democrats, and passed legislation providing billions of dollars in subsidies to boost US semiconductor production. Schumer also commended the President for taking the Inflation Reduction Act to the finish line.
“I’m confident that this law will stand as one of the greatest legislative accomplishments in decades,” Schumer said, adding that it was “the most important piece of legislation we’ve passed in a long time.”
Manchin, who sat in the front row of the room for the signing, received thunderous applause as Schumer thanked him for his role in passing the bill. The West Virginia Democrat had opposed previous versions of the president’s “Build Back Better” agenda but aligned himself with the Inflation Reduction Act, which had much narrower scope.
The new law provides $369 billion to fund energy and climate projects that aim to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, the largest investment to date to fight climate change. It will also limit out-of-pocket drug spending for seniors on Medicare to $2,000 annually and allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices with drugmakers.
The legislation sets a minimum corporate tax rate of 15% for most large corporations and provides the IRS with $80 billion in funding, allowing the agency to hire thousands of agents and refresh decades-old technological systems.
The President signed the law into law after returning from vacation in South Carolina. First Lady Jill Bidenfor COVID-19 on Tuesday and will remain in South Carolina, but the president tested negative and returned to Washington. He is considered a close contact of the First Lady.
In the coming weeks, the White House says the president will tour the country to articulate how the law will help Americans. He will also host an event to celebrate the passage of the bill on September 6th.
“This historic law will lower the cost of energy, prescription drugs and other healthcare for American families, tackle the climate crisis, reduce the deficit and get the largest corporations to pay their fair share of taxes,” the White House promised in the announcement the signing.
Despite its name, the extent to which the bill willremains to be seen. A model by Penn Wharton says the bill will not have a measurable impact on inflation, and the Congressional Budget Office called the impact on inflation this year “negligible” before helping to lower inflation in later years. Still, the White House cites a letter signed by more than 120 economists who are promoting the law and insisting it will “put downward pressure on inflation by increasing the government’s budget deficit by an estimated 10 years.” 300 billion dollars will be reduced”.