Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has reached a crucially important agreement with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia to advance a major climate and health focused budget bill before the 2022 midterms, surprising many pundits and blindsiding Senate Republicans, who had figured that the wily Manchin would continue to frustrate Democrats’ desire for climate progress.
“After years of many in Washington promising, but failing to deliver, with the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, this Senate Democratic Majority will take action to finally take on Big Pharma and lower prescription drug prices, tackle the climate crisis with urgency and vigor, ensure the wealthiest corporations and individuals pay their fair share in taxes, and reduce the deficit,” said Schumer.
“By a wide margin, this legislation will be the greatest pro-climate legislation that has ever been passed by Congress,” the Majority Leader added.
“This legislation fights the climate crisis with the urgency the situation demands and puts the U.S. on a path to roughly 40% emissions reductions by 2030, all while creating new good-paying jobs in the near and long-term.
“I expect that the remaining work with the parliamentarian will be completed in the coming days and the Senate will vote on this transformative legislation next week. I thank Senator Manchin for his willingness to engage and his commitment to reaching an agreement that can earn the support of all 50 Senate Democrats.”
The following documents were made available by Schumer’s office:
- Inflation Reduction Act — One Page Summary
- Tax Summary
- Prescription Drugs Summary
- Energy Security and Climate Change Investments Summary
Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is not a party to the agreement and has not signed off on it. However, her office signaled she could be a yes vote.
Without any Republican defectors, Democrats would need Sinema’s vote along with Manchin’s to pass the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote will also be required if all fifty Senate Republicans show up to vote no, as expected.
President Joe Biden hailed the apparent breakthrough.
“This afternoon, I spoke with Senators Schumer and Manchin and offered my support for the agreement they have reached on a bill to fight inflation and lower costs for American families,” said the President.
“With this agreement, we have a chance to make prescription drugs cheaper by allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices and we can lower health insurance costs for 13 million Americans, by an average of $800 a year, for families covered under the [Patient Protection and] Affordable Care Act.”
“We will improve our energy security and tackle the climate crisis – by providing tax credits and investments for energy projects. This will create thousands of new jobs and help lower energy costs in the future. This bill will reduce the deficit beyond the record setting $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction we have already achieved this year, which will help fight inflation as well.”
“And we will pay for all of this by requiring big corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, with no tax increases at all for families making under $400,000 a year.”
“This is the action the American people have been waiting for,” the President emphasized. “This addresses the problems of today – high health care costs and overall inflation – as well as investments in our energy security for the future.”
“I will have more to say on this later. For now, I want to thank Senator Schumer and Senator Manchin for the extraordinary effort that it took to reach this result. If enacted, this legislation will be historic, and I urge the Senate to move on this bill as soon as possible, and for the House to follow as well.”
“The nation, and the world, can rightfully feel a new surge of hope tonight following this news of an agreement in the U.S. Senate to pass massive investments in the clean energy economy,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
“While details are still emerging, we know this — this is a major step forward and a big win for the people of our country.”
“Our task is not done, of course. We still need the president’s administration to use its abundant executive tools to rein in carbon pollution in multiple ways. The many tools that are available under current law need to be utilized. The pace and scale of climate disasters call for nothing less.”
The governor also applauded the healthcare provisions, saying they will “allow millions of families to save hundreds of dollars on necessary health care, prescriptions and medicine. Health care is not an optional cost and this is a significant win for families working so hard to make ends meet.”
Washington’s senior U.S. Senator Patty Murray, the Democratic caucus’ third-ranking senator, issued a lengthy statement praising the bill.
“We absolutely have to deliver on these critical priorities — to save Americans thousands on their prescriptions, lower health care costs, combat climate [damage] before it’s too late, and create a fairer tax system that finally puts working people first — and I’m committed to doing exactly that and passing this legislation as quickly as we’re able to,” said Murray.
“People in Washington State and all across the country should never have to choose between their prescription or other basic necessities — because lifesaving drugs don’t do any good if people can’t afford them,” Murray noted.
“Passing a climate bill should be Congress’ number one priority. The reported agreement between Senator Manchin and Leader Schumer presents the opportunity for a major breakthrough in America’s fight against climate [damage],” said Evergreen Action Executive Director Jamal Raad.
“With $369 billion for climate and energy provisions, this bill has the potential to be the single largest investment in clean energy in American history. Making major investments in clean energy is one of the best ways Congress can lower inflation and shield Americans from the volatility of fossil fuel markets. In the days ahead, we look forward to reviewing the bill in detail to assess whether it lives up to President Biden’s commitments on climate and environmental justice.”