Senate Tiebreaker Approves Sweeping Economic Package

Democrats' victory sends legislation to curb global warming, pharmaceutical costs to House
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 7, 2022 2:55 PM CDT
Democrats' Bill Passes Senate on Harris' Tiebreaker
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks during a news conference Friday about the Democratic economic package.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

(Newser) – Democrats pushed their election-year economic package to Senate passage Sunday, a hard-fought compromise less sweeping than President Biden’s original domestic vision but one that still meets deep-rooted party goals of slowing global warming, moderating pharmaceutical costs, and taxing immense corporations. The estimated $740 billion package heads next to the House, where lawmakers are positioned to deliver on Biden's priorities, a stunning turnaround of what had seemed a lost and doomed effort that suddenly roared back to political life. Democrats held united, 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote, the AP reports.

"The Senate is making history," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ahead of the final votes. "I am confident the Inflation Reduction Act will endure as one of the defining legislative measures of the 21st century." Senators engaged in a round-the-clock marathon of voting that began Saturday and stretched into late Sunday afternoon. Democrats swatted down some three dozen Republican amendments designed to torpedo the legislation. Confronting unanimous GOP opposition, Democratic unity in the 50-50 chamber held, keeping the party on track for a morale-boosting victory three months before elections in which congressional control is at stake. The House seemed likely to provide final congressional approval when it returns briefly from summer recess on Friday.

The bill ran into trouble midday over objections to the new 15% corporate minimum tax that private equity firms and other industries disliked, forcing last-minute changes. Still, the approval gives Democrats a campaign-season showcase for action on coveted goals. It includes the largest-ever federal effort on climate change—close to $400 billion—while capping out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare to $2,000 a year and extending expiring subsidies that help 13 million people afford health insurance. By raising corporate taxes, the whole package is paid for, with some $300 billion extra revenue for deficit reduction. Nonpartisan analysts have said the package would have a minor effect on surging consumer prices. Schumer told the Washington Post that the legislation provides "things that Americans have longed for, and couldn't get done." (Provisions to cap monthly insulin charges were a partial casualty.)

Get breaking news in your inbox.
What you need to know, as soon as we know it.
Sign up
We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.

X