With Harris casting the tie-breaker, the Senate just passed the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, which includes the first significant climate change regulation. As well as quite a bit of Biden’s domestic agenda.
This might actually happen, after everybody thought it was dead!
One of the features of the bill is a two-year extension on expanded tax credits for moderate-income families who buy their own ACA health insurance policies. The expanded tax credits were put into place in one of the COVID relief bills last year, and helped a lot of people afford to buy health insurance, but were slated to expire at the end of this year. It had been estimated that ~3 million people would wind up being unable to afford insurance (and thus, drop their coverage) if the expanded credits went away.
One thing I don’t like about it is, to get Manchin’s support, the bill effectively kills the Electric Vehicle tax credit for 90% of buyers. By placing price limits and requiring final assembly to be in North America, it rules out most of Kia, Lexus, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Rivian, etc… The only currently available cars that pass the new criteria are Ford Mustang MachE, F-150 Electric, Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3/Y, Nissan Leaf and VW ID.4. This bill changes the tax credit from “We want to help people buy clean vehicles” to “We want to prop up the U.S. auto factories”. And once the battery sourcing rules start kicking in in 2024, even those won’t be able to meet the requirements.
The Democrats have mostly agreed to vote no on ALL amendments, even ones they agree with, because the agreement is so precarious that any change might wreck it. So far it seems to be working — no amendments have passed so far.
I have no doubt the bill will pass in its current form with at most only minor changes. Schumer would not have brought this to the floor unless he was sure he had cut all the deals he needed to assure passage.
The goal of the “vote-a-rama” — where they vote on dozens of amendments — isn’t to change the bill, but for Republicans to force Democrats to take politically painful votes so they can run ads saying “Rafael Warnock voted against tax relief for disabled veterans!”