House Passes Climate, Healthcare And Tax Bill As Legislation Clears Final Hurdle

A massive climate, healthcare care and tax bill cleared its final hurdle on Friday, as the House passed the legislation on a party line vote, sending it to President Joe Biden to sign.

Democratic members in the chamber cheered as the bill cleared the 218 vote threshold for a majority to pass, and then loudly cheered and clapped when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the tally. The final vote was 220-207.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes $369 billion for energy and climate programs over the next decade, including tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles and other credits for home solar energy.

The bill also includes $64 billion to extend Affordable Care Act benefits, and $4 billion to address the drought in western states. Another $300 billion in the bill would be directed to deficit reduction.

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The bill would be financed by a new 15% corporate minimum tax, raising an estimated $222 billion, according to congressional estimates. The provision was intended to capture large companies with at least $1 billion in profit that, because of accounting maneuvers and write offs, pay at a lower rate or no federal corporate tax. Another $265 billion would come from prescription drug pricing reform, and Medicare will be allowed to negotiate for the cost of prescription drugs. An estimated $74 billion would come from a 1% fee on stock buybacks.

Pelosi and other Democrats trumpeted the bill’s climate provisions, marking the largest U.S. investment to address climate change, as well as other provisions that they say will reduce medical bills for working and middle class families. In a letter she sent to members before the final vote, Pelosi wrote that members “are encouraged to hold events in your districts celebrating the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, explaining what this landmark legislation means to America’s working families and pushing back against our Republican colleagues’ desperate and disingenuous falsehoods.”

The passage of the legislation was expected, after the Senate passed the legislation on Sunday.

During the debate over the legislation, Republicans focused their criticism on the uptick in inflation over the past year, and hammered a provision to increase IRS enforcement, raising an estimated $124 billion, arguing that it would subject far more Americans to audits.

“This is just a train wreck waiting to happen,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

“In light of this week’s events, do you really trust the IRS and this administration to be fair and not abuse their power?” He was referring to the FBI search of Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate, reportedly to retrieve classified documents taken to the property after he left the White House.

He also criticized the fact that so many Democratic members did not show up for the vote but instead voted by proxy, as is allowed by House rules because of the Covid pandemic. During the final roll call, though, many Democrats who were present remained on their side of the aisle to wait for the final tally, while many Republicans left. There was little interaction between the parties, although at one moment Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) passed Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) and gave him a friendly tap on the arm.

In the chamber, flowers were placed on the seat of Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), who was killed in a car crash last week along with two of her staffers, Zachery Potts, 27, and Emma Thomson, 28.

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