US President Joe Biden signs major climate change and health care law

Biden signed into law a major bill on climate change and health care spending on Tuesday.

Washington:

President Joe Biden signed into law a major climate change and health care spending bill on Tuesday, giving Democrats a boost ahead of the midterm elections in which Republicans are suddenly less certain of their predicted landslide victory.

The legislation, dubbed the Cut Inflation Act, was touted by the White House as the largest pledge to mitigate climate change in US history, as well as targeting long-sought changes. in drug pricing, while adding fairness to the tax system, with a minimum corporate tax of 15%.

“A nation can be transformed. It’s happening now,” Biden said in a White House speech likely to form the backbone of his campaign ahead of the November election, where Republicans hoped to end tight control. Democrats on Congress.

“It’s about tomorrow,” Biden said. “This is about bringing progress and prosperity to American families. This is about showing America and the American people that democracy still works in America.”

While the sprawling bill is just a fraction of the gargantuan package that Biden initially tried and failed to push through Congress, the fact that he was able to sign even the scaled-down version marked a resurrection. politics – a success Democrats are now hoping for could fuel a return to the polls later this year.

Under the plan, the government will spend about $370 billion on green energy initiatives while allowing the state-run Medicare system to negotiate prescription drug prices, a popular measure designed to reduce the often ruinous prices that Americans are forced to pay.

Although the Republican National Committee called a provision to subsidize electric vehicle purchases a “scam”, the Sierra Club, an environmental lobby group, hailed what it called a bold step in the fight against overheating of the planet.

“This day will be remembered by generations to come as the turning of the tide against the fossil fuel industry and toward a healthier, cleaner and fairer future for all people in this country,” said the President of Sierra Club, Ramon Cruz.

The law’s massive cost will be largely covered by closing numerous tax loopholes and implementing a new 15% minimum corporate tax — a measure Biden has long promised his base as a way to bring the rich to “pay part of their fair share.”

– Democratic resurgence, Republican disarray? –

Battered by outrage over the chaotic final exit of US troops from Afghanistan, stubborn waves of Covid and the highest inflation in 40 years, the Biden administration has had a difficult past 12 months.

Adding to the gloom on the left, the opposition of just two center-right Democratic senators has repeatedly condemned parties’ attempts to use a wafer-thin advantage in the Senate.

Opinion polls show Republicans are likely to secure a healthy majority in the House of Representatives and possibly win the Senate as well.

It could effectively turn Biden into a lame duck for the rest of his first term, with Republicans shutting down his legislative agenda and subjecting government officials to aggressive investigations by congressional committees.

The past few weeks, however, have seen a change in dynamic.

Republicans are embroiled in the scandal of former President Donald Trump’s alleged illegal hoarding of top secret documents at his Florida golf club.

Meanwhile, Biden has won a series of victories, allowing the White House to project a message that Democrats are focused on helping ordinary people.

Along with the Cut Inflation Act, Congress passed the first significant gun safety legislation in three decades, a government-funded plan to rebuild the anemic microchip industry in the United States. and a bill expanding health care for military veterans exposed to toxic smoke.

Adding to victories early in his presidency to invest billions of dollars in supporting the pandemic-hit economy and transforming national infrastructure spending, this amounts to a serious legacy, Biden argued.

“I know there are people here today who have a dark and desperate view of this country. I’m not one of them,” he said.

The new climate and health care law — opposed by all Republican members of Congress — meant “the American people won and special interests lost,” Biden said.

“It’s the choice we face: we can protect those who are already powerful or show the courage to build a future where everyone has an equal chance. This is the America I believe in.”

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Kevin E. Boling