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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

Schumer, Manchin announce agreement on major climate and health focused budget bill

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:

Legislative Text

Summaries

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.”

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