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US Senate passes bill to fight climate change, cut drug costs, and raise corporate taxes

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The US Senate passed a sweeping energy, health care, climate and tax package Sunday afternoon, following an overnight marathon of votes that resulted in just a handful of notable changes to the legislation.

The US Senate has passed an extensive $430 billion bill designed to fight climate change, lower drug prices and raise some corporate taxes, a significant victory for Democratic President Joe Biden ahead of crucial midterm elections.

After one and a half years of grueling negotiations and a marathon night of debate, the US Senate on Sunday approved Biden's ambitious climate, tax and health care plan.

The Senate passed the legislation known as the Inflation Reduction Act by a 51-50 party-line vote Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking ballot.

The $430-billion spending plan will now go to the House of Representatives next week, where it is expected to pass. The measure then will go to the White House for Biden's signature.

Biden said he looked forward to signing the bill into law.

"It required many compromises. Doing important things almost always does. The House should pass this as soon as possible and I look forward to signing it into law," the president said in a statement.

"The Senate is making history," said an ecstatic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as Democrats cheered and their staff members responded to the vote with a standing ovation.

"To Americans who’ve lost faith that Congress can do big things, this bill is for you," he said. "This bill is going to change America for decades."

Schumer said the bill contains "the boldest clean energy package in American history" to fight climate change while reducing consumer costs for energy and some medicines.

There are three main parts to the bill's tax provisions: a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations and the closing of loopholes that the wealthy can use to avoid paying taxes; tougher IRS enforcement; and a new excise tax on stock buybacks.

The legislation has $430 billion in new spending along with raising more than $740 billion in new revenues.

Democrats have claimed the legislation by 2030 would result in a 40 percent reduction in US carbon emissions, blamed for climate change.

The victory for Biden and Democrats may aid their chances of keeping control of Congress in this year's elections.

This is while Republicans are in the lead to control the House after this year’s midterm elections, with 230 seats projected for the GOP and 205 for Democrats, according to a new CBS News Battleground Tracker.

Republican victories in 230 districts would give GOP 12 seats more than the 218 required to control the House, the poll showed, according to The Hill.

And more Democrats reported being incited to vote by former President Donald Trump than by their own party leader.

Only 39 percent of Democrats say their midterm vote is “a lot” about President Joe Biden, compared to 62 percent of Republicans.


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