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Happy Sunday afternoon.
The Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark tax, climate and health care bill, on a party line vote today following more than 24 hours of sometimes bitter partisan floor fights.
The final vote was 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.
The legislation now goes to the House, which will come back into session on Friday.
Coming less than 100 days before the midterm elections, and with control of the Senate up for grabs, today’s vote was a watershed moment for both President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Here’s Schumer before the vote:
“Today, after more than a year of hard work, the Senate is making history. I am confident the Inflation Reduction Act will endure as one of the defining legislative feats of the 21st century. Our bill reduces inflation, lowers costs, creates millions of good paying jobs and is the boldest climate package in U.S. history.
“This bill will kick start the era of affordable clean energy in America. It’s a game changer, a turning point. And it’s been a long time in coming.”
During the last 18 months, Biden and Schumer faced not only unified opposition from Republicans but a deep split in the Democratic Party between moderates and progressives, a fissure that made passage of the measure dramatically more difficult. And none of this would’ve been possible without agreement from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who derailed the Build Back Better Act in December but then returned to the negotiating table to hash out this deal.
Throughout the weekend’s vote-a-rama, Senate Democrats mostly banded together to beat back a barrage of Republican amendments on subjects ranging from energy policy to tax to health care. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also offered five amendments to bring the bill further to the left, all of which were defeated resoundingly. The vote-a-rama – the amendment voting process – began at 11:31 p.m. Saturday and lasted until just after 3 p.m. Sunday.
There were a few big moments Sunday morning.
Republicans voted to strip the $35 per month cap on insulin for private insurance plans from the legislation, despite Democratic pleas not to do so. Seven Republicans voted with Democrats to keep the cap: Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Susan Collins (Maine), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), Bill Cassidy (La.), John Kennedy (La.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska). The $35 monthly insulin cap for Medicare recipients remained in the bill.
There was also a dispute over how the Democrats’ 15% corporate tax provision applies to private equity firms and companies in which they hold a stake. Republicans argued what the Democratic leadership was proposing would pull in thousands of small businesses. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) agreed with them, and Minority Whip John Thune offered an amendment revising the language. Thune’s amendment also extended the state and local tax provision from the 2017 GOP tax cut for another two years, which upset Democrats. With support from Sinema and vulnerable Senate Democrats, Thune’s amendment passed 57-43.
But Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) offered a replacement amendment, which extended for two years loss limitation language for pass-through entities. This passed, with Harris breaking the tie.
The Senate then voted to pass the overall bill, with Harris breaking a stalemate for the 26th time since becoming vice president.
Approval of the Inflation Reduction act is another win for Schumer, who has shepherded a number of landmark bills through the Senate. During the last six weeks, the Senate has passed a gun-control bill, CHIPS Plus, the PACT Act and a resolution approving of Sweden and Finland’s accession into NATO.
And we leave you for now with this photo of then-Rep. Chuck Schumer leaving for August recess in 1995. Thanks for being a Premium member. More tomorrow in the AM edition.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images
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