The U.S. Senate voted in line with party line on Saturday night to proceed with debate on the Democratic comprehensive energy, health and tax bill, clearing a major hurdle to passage.
of Vote 51-50 for Vice President Kamala Harrisallowed debate on the floor and voting on amendments major And he showed that he had enough support from the Democratic Party to overcome opposition from the unified Republican Party.
Majority leader Chuck Schumer said before the vote, “We’re going to show the American people that we can pass historic climate action, keep drug companies in check, and make tax laws fairer.” . “We can make big promises and work hard to keep them.
“This is one of the most comprehensive and far-reaching pieces of legislation introduced to Congress in decades,” added the New York Democrat. “It will help nearly every citizen in this country and make America a better place.”
As expected, all Republicans voted against the bill. Republicans in and out of the Senate have criticized the move for spending too much during a recession while doing little to address the biggest problem facing the United States: consumer price inflation.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made remarks focused on the bill’s provisions Allow Medicare to negotiate He said it would reduce the price of certain prescription drugs and significantly reduce private sector research and development efforts.
“The Democrats’ policies are not going to bring us paradise where we could get all the amazing new innovations we could have at a low price,” he said. cutting back on research and development would result in a world where far fewer new drugs and treatments are invented in the first place.”
The White House said Saturday that the Joe Biden administration “strongly supports” the bill.
“This law will reduce healthcare, prescription drug and energy costs, invest in energy security and make tax laws fairer, while fighting inflation and reducing the deficit,” said an administration policy statement. there is
The vote brought the Senate to a rare weekend, which was due to go into recess in August, with up to 20 hours of debate and consideration of 40 to 50 amendments in a “rama vote.” Scheduled.
A final vote is scheduled for Sunday or Monday, depending on how long the debate and amendment vote take.
The bill was negotiated primarily by Schumer and West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin III, with additional changes at the request of Arizona Democratic Senator Kirsten Cinema. spend about $370 billion on clean energy programsallowing Medicare to negotiate some drug prices from 2026, changing tax laws and strengthening the Internal Revenue Code, resulting in more than $400 billion in new revenue over a decade.
A. July 29 analysis The Wharton School of Management at the University of Pennsylvania found that the bill’s impact on inflation would be negligible.
Democrats released after negotiating with cinema and introducing bills to senators to secure all provisions eligible for consideration under budget adjustment Updated invoice with longer 755 pages Minutes before voting in Saturday’s public debate.
The settlement process will allow Democrats to pass legislation by simple majority vote rather than the usual 60-vote threshold.
CBO dispatched Schumer incomplete score Saturday for the updated bill. Estimates showed deficits increasing by $115 over 10 years in seven of the eight expenditure sections. Earnings projections were not included.
Recent changes to the bill included a $4 billion addition to address drought in the West.
Western Democratic Senators Catherine Cortez Mast of Nevada, Mark Kelly of Arizona, and Michael Bennett of Colorado called for funding the Bureau of Reclamation to address the droughts in Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado. announced that it was secured.
“With the western United States experiencing unprecedented drought, it is imperative that we have the resources we need to support the state’s efforts to combat climate change, conserve water resources, and protect the Colorado River Basin. ‘, they jointly said. statement.
Democrats also Put a cap on your insulin copay $35 for Americans from 2024.
Another provision promoted by Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine and included in the bill’s first draft was: Permanently Expand the Black Lung Disorder Trust Fund, which provides monthly payments and medical benefits to disabled miners who develop black lung disease while working in mines.
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, prescription drug cost cuts and tax code changes more than offset the bill’s spending, cutting the deficit by about $100 billion. Additional IRS enforcement will bring total deficit reduction to about $300 billion.
These predictions didn’t stop Republicans from criticizing the bill as a “tax and spending” measure.
Louisiana Republican Senator Bill Cassidy said Friday that the deficit reduction would be less than 1% of the country’s gross domestic product over a decade.
“This is total rounding error,” he said. “That’s what they’re using to justify, and that’s their strongest argument. It’s a pretty weak powerful argument.”
Most amendments to Democrat-made bills are expected to be made by Republicans, some with the express purpose of putting Democrats in a tough political position ahead of the November election.
Wyoming Republican Conference Chair John Barrazo said Republicans would propose amendments on immigration, crime, inflation and energy policy.
South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham said the amendment vote would be “like hell.”
House Majority Leader Stenny Hoyer of the Maryland Democratic Party said the legislature returned from an August recess to vote on the bill passed by the Senate on Friday.