Senate Passes Inflation Reduction Act With $369B In Energy And Climate Spending

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks during a news conference after passage of the Inflation Reduction Act at the U.S. Capitol Aug. 7. Drew Angerer via Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, R-Ariz., the only Democratic holdout from supporting the Inflation Reduction Act. The Senate Finance Committee agreed on Thursday to back the legislation, which includes some $369 billion for spending on energy and climate. No Republicans voted in favor of the economic package, though a provision added by co-sponsor Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) would have benefitted oil and gas-related energy projects. The bill also includes a number of measures needed to gain the support of Sen. Joe Manchin that actually would worsen climate change, such as the requirement that the federal government lease tracts of federal lands and shorelines to oil and gas drillers.

The billinvests in technology needed for all types of fuel — from hydrogen, nuclear, renewables, fossil fuels, and energy storage — to be produced and used as cleanly as possible, said Democratic colleague Sen. Joe Manchin. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Democratic colleague Joe Manchin agreed late Wednesday to add $369 billion worth of energy and climate provisions to the Budget Reconciliation Act, which is scheduled to come up for a vote next week. In a stunning about-face, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced he had reached an expansive deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for a $739 billion bill that includes cuts in healthcare costs, tackles climate change and energy issues, and taxes on high-income individuals and corporations, after having previously balked at including the last provisions. Senate Democrats are seeking to pass an inflation-reduction bill via the budget reconciliation process, which requires a majority vote and cannot be blocked by a filibuster.

Both senators from Virginia, Democrat Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, voted in favor of the Inflation Reduction Act, as the Virginia senators said it will help contain rising inflation and lower deficits, as well as making $369 billion worth of investments in clean energy and easing federal restrictions on oil and gas development. The inflation reduction law gave Democrats an opportunity to prove that they could pass things in Congress: A $1 trillion infrastructure bill, a compromise on gun safety, and now major investments in clean energy and health care, including maintaining federal subsidies to healthcare premiums as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The economic package is among the largest, most comprehensive measures on climate change ever passed in this chamber, according to U.S. Senate leaders — it is designed to spur efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, relative to 2005 levels. The Senate is expected to consider the measure, known as the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, next week, potentially setting up President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats for major legislative victories on key priorities before Novembers midterm elections. 

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