After 18 months of arduous negotiations and a night of protracted debate, the US Senate on Sunday approved Joe Biden’s ambitious climate, tax and healthcare plan – a key victory for Mr. president ahead of important midterm elections.
Vote as a bloc and with an inconclusive vote conducted by Vice President Kamala Harris, Democrats have approved a $430 billion spending plan, which will be moved to the House of Representatives next week, where it is expected to pass it before it is signed into law. Biden.
The plan, launched in sensitive negotiations with right-wing members of his Democratic Party, would include the largest-ever US investment in climate – $370 billion to target reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.
That would give Biden a clear victory on one of the top items on his agenda and move in the direction of restoring US leadership in responding to the global climate challenge. .
Biden praised the bill’s passage, underscoring the work that went into it – and acknowledging that not everyone was happy with the end result.
“It requires a lot of compromise. Doing the important things is almost always done. The House should pass this as soon as possible and I look forward to signing it into law,” the president said in a statement.
The bill would give ordinary Americans a tax credit of up to $7,500 on the purchase of an electric car, plus a 30% discount when they install solar panels on their roofs.
It will also provide millions of people to help protect and conserve forests, which have been increasingly devastated in recent years by wildfires during record-breaking heatwaves that scientists say is linked. to global warming.
Billions of dollars in tax credits will also go to some of the country’s worst polluting industries to help them transition to greener methods – a measure fiercely opposed by some parties. Liberal Democrats, who accepted this as the least-worst alternative after months of frustration.
Biden, who came to power with promises of sweeping reform, saw his hopes dashed, revived, then dashed again.
Democrats’ narrow edge in the Senate has given a virtual veto over moderators like Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who previously used that power to block the expanding Build Back Better plan. much more than Biden’s.
But in late July, Democratic leader in the Senate Chuck Schumer tried to forge a compromise with the West Virginian, where the state’s economy relies heavily on coal mining.
And on Saturday, the senators finally opened their debate on the text.
Later that day, the senators began a marathon procedure known as “vote-a-rama,” in which members could propose dozens of amendments and ask to vote on each one.
That allows both Republicans, who see Biden’s plan as too costly, and liberal Democrats, who say it’s not far enough, to make their objections clear.
Influential Progressive Senator Bernie Sanders used that platform throughout the evening to propose a number of amendments intended to strengthen social plans in the legislation, which have been significantly weakened during months of negotiations. .
The bill would provide $64 billion for healthcare initiatives and guarantee a reduction in some drug costs — which can be 10 times more expensive in the United States than in some other wealthy nations.
But progressive Democrats have long abandoned ambitions of free preschools and community colleges and expanded health care for the elderly.
“Millions of seniors will continue to have rotting teeth and lack the dentures, hearing aids or eyeglasses they deserve,” Sanders said from the Senate floor. “This bill, as it is currently written, does nothing to address it.”
But Democrats, eager to pass the legislation before the mid-November deadline when control of Congress is at stake, have rejected any changes to the text.
To help offset the plan’s massive spending, it will reduce the US deficit through a new 15% minimum tax on companies with profits of $1 billion or more – a move aimed at some companies now pay much less.
By some estimates, that measure could generate more than $258 billion in taxes for the government over the next 10 years.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from the syndication feed.)