Biden to sign sweeping bill to tackle climate change, lower health-care costs

Biden to sign sweeping bill to tackle climate change, lower health-care costs

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President Biden on Tuesday will sign into law the Inflation Reduction Act, an ambitious measure that aims to tamp down on inflation, lower prescription drug prices, tackle climate change, reduce the deficit and impose a minimum tax on profits of the largest corporations.

“President Biden and Congressional Democrats have worked together to deliver a historic legislative achievement that defeats special interests, delivers for American families, and grows the economy from the bottom up and middle out,” the White House said in a statement Monday.

In a tweet Tuesday morning, Biden said, “Later today, with the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act into law, we make history.”

The House passed the bill Friday in a 220-207 vote, days after the Senate narrowly passed it on a party-line vote, with Vice President Harris serving as the tiebreaker. The bill’s passage marked one of the most successful legislative efforts by congressional Democrats this session, ahead of contentious midterm elections — and also one that seemed increasingly unlikely for about a year and a half.

Last year, a larger $2 trillion spending package known as the Build Back Better Act stalled in Congress after hitting opposition from moderate Democratic senators. After weeks of negotiations with the White House, Sen. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) said in December that he could not move forward with the bill.

But last month, Manchin announced that he had reached a surprise deal with Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on what would become known as the Inflation Reduction Act. Although smaller than the Build Back Better plan, the new legislation aimed to achieve many of the same goals, including spending about $370 billion on climate change and clean-energy production.

Biden is expected to deliver remarks during the signing, which will be held in the State Dining Room of the White House.

According to the White House, Biden will in coming weeks hold a Cabinet meeting focused on implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as travel across the country to promote the ways the new law is expected to help Americans. The White House is also planning an event on Sept. 6 to celebrate the bill’s enactment.

How the Inflation Reduction Act might affect you — and change the U.S.

The Inflation Reduction Act would put about $370 billion into combating climate change and bolstering U.S. energy production, using incentives for private companies to produce more renewable energy and for households to transform their energy use and consumption. The bill would also allow Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs and extend health insurance subsidies for millions of Americans.

To pay for the spending, the bill would raise hundreds of billions in revenue through new tax provisions — the biggest of which will fall on the country’s large corporations. It would also give the badly underfunded Internal Revenue Service its biggest budget increase in its history — a provision House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) criticized as one that would result in “an army of IRS agents to spy on your bank accounts.”

At a bill enrollment ceremony for the Inflation Reduction Act on Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called it “a glorious day” and noted the bill’s passage was coming on the heels of Biden signing several other key pieces of legislation into law, including one aimed at expanding aid to veterans exposed to toxic burn pits during their military service. She also criticized Republicans for uniting in opposition to the bill and said Democrats would continue to fight for provisions that had been dropped as a compromise, such as Medicare expansion and free universal prekindergarten.

“This bill honors the Democrats’ promise to American families,” Pelosi said then, referring to the Inflation Reduction Act. “After we pass it and the president signs it into law, we will continue to fight for more of the family features of the bill that are not included in this legislation. This legislation is historic, it’s transformative, and it is really a cause for celebration.”

Jeff Stein, Maxine Joselow, Rachel Roubein and John Wagner contributed to this report.


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