September 28, 2023

Washington — President Biden on Thursday praised a new health care, tax and climate package unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin, and urged lawmakers to pass the plan that he said will lower inflation and take significant steps to combat climate change.

“Simply put, the bill will lower health care costs for millions of Americans and it will be the most important investment, not hyperbole, the most important investment that we’ve ever made in our energy security,” Mr. Biden said in remarks from the White House, adding that it’s a “big deal.” 

Called the Inflation Reduction Act, the plan was announced by Schumer and Manchin on Wednesday, capping months of negotiations between the two Democrats that, until now, failed to yield a deal. While Manchin had previously expressed concerns about new federal spending amid historic inflation, the West Virginia Democrat said he believes this legislative proposal will address the jump in consumer prices by paying down the national debt and lowering health care and energy costs.

The bill provides $369 billion for energy and climate programs over the next decade, and is estimated to reduce the federal deficit by $300 billion, according to a summary of the plan released by Senate Democrats. It will also raise roughly $313 billion by imposing a 15% corporate minimum tax on large companies, as well as another $124 billion from tax enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service.

The plan also allows Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and extends expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies through 2025.

Biden says Senate bill to fight inflation, cut health costs and protect climate is a “big deal”


Highlighting the package’s prescription drug reforms, the president called it a “godsend” for families. As he walked through the climate and energy provisions, he detailed the financial incentives available to American consumers to invest in clean-energy technologies.

“This bill would be the most significant legislation in history to tackle the climate crisis and improve our energy security right away,” he said. “It will give us a tool to meet the climate goals that we’ve agreed to by cutting emissions and accelerating clean energy — a huge step forward.”

While more narrow than the initial sweeping domestic policy plan put forth by Mr. Biden last year, which stalled in the Senate after talks between Manchin and the White House derailed in December, the president expressed his support for the new plan and urged swift passage by the Senate and House.

“This bill is far from perfect. It’s a compromise. But that’s often how progress is made, by compromises,” the president said. “And the fact is that my message to Congress it this: this is the strongest bill you can pass to lower inflation, cut the deficit, reduce health care costs, tackle the climate crisis and promote energy security, all the time while reducing the burdens facing working class and and middle-class families.”

Mr. Biden continued: “So pass it. Pass it for the American people. Pass it for America.”

The president pledged to continue pushing to make child and elder care more affordable, lower the cost of pre-school and community college, and expand Medicaid — proposals that were all included in his wide-ranging $3.5 trillion social spending plan that was trimmed and ultimately stalled last year amid pushback from Manchin.

While the plan unveiled Wednesday differs greatly from the initial package from Mr. Biden and is the result of months of negotiations that at times were derailed and then put back on track, the president acknowledged the slow churn of talks will pay off. 

“I know it can sometimes seem like nothing gets done in Washington. … The work of the government can be slow and frustrating, and sometimes even infuriating,” he said. “Then the hard work of hours and days and months from people who refuse to give up pays off. History is made. Lives are changed. With this legislation, we’re facing up to some of our biggest problems and we’re taking a giant step forward as a nation.”

The deal on the spending package provides a jolt to Mr. Biden’s domestic policy agenda as Democrats work to maintain their hold of the House and Senate in the November midterm elections. But Republicans have castigated the new plan, claiming it will increase taxes and lead to job losses. 

Likely adding to GOP lawmakers’ criticism of the proposal are latest figures from the Commerce Department showing the nation’s gross domestic product fell at an annual rate of 0.9%, marking the second quarter in a row of declining economic activity.

The contraction is fueling concerns the U.S. is on the brink of a recession, though Mr. Biden sought to downplay fears about an economic downturn, saying in a statement it’s “no surprise that the economy is slowing down,” given last year’s economic growth.

The president said the nation is “on the right path and we will come through this transition stronger and more secure.”

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