US Senate passes act addressing climate change, drug pricing and corporate taxes
© WikiMedia (United States Senate)
US Senate passes act addressing climate change, drug pricing and corporate taxes

The US Senate Sunday narrowly passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a bill that addresses climate change, drug pricing, and corporate taxes. The Inflation Reduction Act will make record investments in green energy, allow Medicare to negotiate more prescriptions, cap seniors’ prescription medicine costs, and increase the minimum corporate tax rate. The initial roll-call vote was 50 to 50, but Vice President Kamala Harris stepped in to cast the tie-breaking vote, making the final vote 51-50.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer celebrated the bill’s passage, saying “we are elated, every member of my caucus is elated about what happened because we’ve really…changed the world.”

Vice President Kamala Harris also celebrated its passage, saying:

You know, I have to say, this is a great day….what this means in terms of lowering the cost of prescription drugs for seniors, the cost of insulin being capped at $35 a month; what it will mean to allow Medicare to actually negotiate drug prices for some of the most costly drugs that are lifesaving. What it’s going to mean in terms of the climate crisis.  

Republicans have criticized the bill, saying it focuses on the wrong reasons for rampant inflation. Republican Senator Mike Rounds stated “they talk about it being on big corporations, but big corporations raise prices, they do pass it all down. So, from our perspective we will see those tax increases coming down the line and Americans are gonna feel it.”

The act passed during the Senate’s 27-hour weekend “Vote-a-rama” session. A “Vote-a-rama” is a Senate practice where fifteen or more bills are voted on in one day. It is usually focused on budget resolutions, rather than traditional legislation, as budget resolutions only need a simple majority and are not at risk of filibuster. It also usually includes unlimited amendments. The Inflation Reduction Act is a budget resolution.

The bill will now be sent back to the House of Representatives to vote on the Senate version of the bill. The vote is expected Friday, as representatives are returning from Summer recess for a short session. Most experts expect the House will pass the bill and the President is expected to sign it.