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House Democrats Set to Overcome Republicans for Climate, Healthcare Victories

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Alan Fram

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic flagship economic bill placed at end of House aisle Friday, putting President Joe Biden on the verge of setback Put-to-death victories on climate, health and tax goals that could revitalize his party ahead of November's elections.

Democrats were poised to force the bill through a narrowly split House on Friday, overcoming staunch Republican opposition. They adopted similar party unity and Vice President Kamala Harris' tie vote on Sunday to give the bill power in the Senate 50-50.

This package is but a shadow of Biden's first vision, empowered by Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. Ultimately, the Democrats, eager to declare victory, forged compromises to achieve goals such as controlling drug costs, taxing big business, and especially controlling their carbon footprint. They want to show that results can be extracted from an often stymied Washington that alienates many voters.

``The climate is a health issue. It's a security issue, and it's a value issue for us," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) told reporters this week. "I want more. Of course we always want more, which is great."

The dollar will encourage industry and consumers to move away from carbon emissions and into cleaner forms of energy, and experts have hailed it as Congress' biggest climate investment yet. This includes her $4 billion added to deal with devastating droughts in the West.

Spending, tax credits and loans will go towards solar panels, consumer efforts to improve home energy efficiency, emission reduction equipment for coal and gas powered power plants, farms and ports. , will strengthen technologies such as low-lying air pollution control. - Income community.

An additional $64 billion, two of the Democrats' top health priorities, would allow her to pay for the health insurance premiums 13 million people have personally purchased over the next three years. I can do it. Medicare will initially give him the power to negotiate drug costs for 10 different drugs by 2026. A Medicare beneficiary's out-of-pocket prescription costs will be capped at $2,000 from 2025, and starting next year, he won't be paying more than $35 a month for insulin, an expensive diabetes drug.

This bill would generate approximately $740 billion in revenue over 10 years. That's more than a third of the government's savings from lower drug prices. Higher taxes on companies worth about $1 billion, levies on companies that buy back their own shares, and increased tax collection by the IRS will bring in more money. The roughly $300 billion remaining to cover the budget deficit is only a fraction of the projected total of $16 trillion over the period.

Republicans say the bill's tax hike will force businesses to raise prices, worsen conditions in the United States with the worst inflation since 1981, and hurt Democratic election prospects. Independent analysts said the measure would have a negligible impact on inflation anyway.

Echoing other culture war themes, Republicans have criticized initiatives such as tax cuts for clean energy and electric cars as wasteful liberal fantasies. Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, said, "This is what it would look like if the Green New Deal and corporate welfare had a baby."

Republicans say Democrats' plan to expand the IRS budget is aimed at collecting about $120 billion in unpaid taxes and 87,000 investigators. states that it envisions tracking family members. Democrats say their $80 billion IRS budget increase is to replace not just agents, but a wave of retirees, modernize equipment, families and small businesses with annual incomes under $400,000. It countered that businesses would not be covered.

Republicans also said the bill would raise taxes for low- and middle-income households. An analysis by Congress' bipartisan Joint Taxation Committee did not include the bill's tax cuts for health care and energy, but a corporate tax hike would likely reduce those taxes, in part due to lower stock prices and lower wages. presumed to have a slight effect on

This bill would allow Congress to improve health benefits for veterans, strengthen the semiconductor industry, moderately tighten gun control for young buyers, and help Ukraine's Russia. finance the war against the United States and add Finland and Sweden to NATO. Both were passed with bipartisan support, suggesting that Republicans also want to show their productive side.

It is unclear whether voters will reward the Democrats for the bill after months of painfully high inflation monopolized voters' attention. Record gas prices have fallen, but Biden's popularity has been noticeably lower, and midterm elections have a consistent history of ending the careers of members of the party holding the White House.

The Democratic economic bill got its roots in early 2021 after Congress approved a $1.9 trillion measure against Republican opponents to combat a pandemic-induced recession. Triumphantly, the new president and his party went further.

They initially created an ambitious his 10-year, $3.5 trillion environmental and social plan called Build Back Better. It featured free pre-kindergarten, paid family and medical leave, expanded Medicare benefits, increased education and housing, and relaxed immigration restrictions.Reversing Trump-era tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations proposed $555 billion for climate action, far exceeding the resources of Friday's law.

With Manchin's opposition to those sums, the bill Democrats passed his House of Representatives in November was chopped to about $2 trillion. Just before Christmas, Manchin unexpectedly sank the bill, gaining momentum from outraged fellow Democrats in the Capitol and the White House, citing concerns over inflation and international uncertainty. 64}

In intermittent closed-door meetings between Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, N.Y.), the two senators shocked Washington, A new, simplified package last month.

Manchin promises procedures for more oil drilling on state lands and faster energy project approvals, in addition to carbon capture technologies for the fossil fuel industry that he advocates. earned billions of dollars to

Centrist Senator Kirsten Cinema (D-Arizona) also used leverage to slow down concessions, scrapping plans to raise taxes on his hedge fund managers and helping get drought money. Did.