(The Hill) – House Democrats introduced their multi-billion-dollar climate, tax and health bill on Friday, passing the final passage of legislation that will be crucial to President Biden’s domestic political agenda later in the day.
The House of Representatives approved the rule for the bill, titled the Inflation Reduction Act, in an intraparty vote by 219 to 208, opening a three-hour debate split equally between Democrats and Republicans. Three Republicans and one Democrat didn’t vote.
The final passage is scheduled for around 3:00 p.m. barring unexpected hiccups, although it’s possible the timing will change. Republicans could use delaying tactics to delay consideration of the bill, which could delay final passage until later in the day.
The Senate passed the tax and spending package in a party line vote Sunday afternoon, with Vice President Harris casting the casting vote to send the legislation to the House of Representatives.
The $740 billion bill includes provisions to increase corporate taxes, tackle climate change, lower prescription drug prices and reduce the deficit.
It would incentivize companies to use low- and zero-carbon energy sources, create programs to increase investment in climate protection, and allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices for some drugs, among other things.
The bill provides new taxes for companies to subsidize the new climate protection and health measures. The main tax rule is a minimum tax of 15% on the income of large corporations, reported to shareholders, commonly known as the minimum book tax.
The measure also provides $80 billion to improve enforcement at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – which Democrats hope will allow the IRS to better monitor wealthy individuals to ensure they don’t pay taxes evade – and calls for a 1% excise tax on share buybacks.
The Senate passage marked the culmination of more than a year of negotiations between Democrats for legislation that would address climate change and health care, key elements of Biden’s domestic agenda.
The upper chamber approved the bill by budget vote, a procedure that allowed the caucus to pass the measure with a simple majority and bypass a GOP filibuster.
The House of Representatives passed a major social spending and climate package called the Build Back Better Act in November, but the roughly $2 trillion measure was blocked in the Senate after centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) said, he could not support the legislation.
Manchin ended another round of talks on a spending package in July, telling leaders he would not back the legislation with climate provisions or new tax increases for businesses or wealthy individuals. He was worried about rising inflation.
But late last month, Democrat and West Virginia Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) announced a new deal, the Inflation Reduction Act, and made another attempt at passing a spending package. Days later, after further negotiations, the bill secured the support of centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and paved the way for passage by the Senate.