The House and Senate passed the bill along party lines last week after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed after many months of negotiations. Both senators were in attendance for Tuesday’s signing ceremony.
“Let me tell you from the start, with this law, the American people have won and special interests have lost,” Biden told the crowd gathered in the White House. The president had to silence cabinet members, congressmen and staff at the audience as they continued cheering and applauding even after taking the lectern.
Passing the bill had been in preparation for many months and at times seemed unlikely with a 50-50 Senate and mid-term elections fast approaching. It achieves long-standing democratic goals of lowering the cost of prescription drugs, investing in clean energy transitions, and reforming the nation’s tax code.
“It was one of the few truly historic days in the 30 years I spent in Congress,” said Jim Clyburn House Democratic Whip along with Mr. Biden, praising the president’s legislative achievements.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bill came in “one of the most productive traits in Senate history,” in which Democrats, and provided billions of dollars in subsidies to increase US semiconductor production. Schumer also praised the president for leading the law on reducing inflation to the finish line.
“I am confident that this bill will last as one of the largest legislative firms in decades,” Schumer said, adding that it was “the most important bill we have passed in a long time.”
Manchin, who sat in the front row of the signing room, received a loud applause when Schumer thanked him for his role in passing the bill. Democratic West Virginia rejected earlier versions of the president’s Build Back Better agenda, but embraced the Inflation Reduction Act, which was much more narrow in scope. The president handed Manchin his pen after he signed the bill.
The announcement of a deal between Manchin and Schumer last month came as a surprise to many Democrats. Manchin explained to reporters on Tuesday why he didn’t share how the deal worked earlier.
“I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed again because I didn’t think we could get there,” he said.
The new law provides $ 369 billion to fund energy and climate projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions by 40% in 2030, the most significant investment ever made to combat climate change. It will also limit out-of-pocket medication expenses for seniors on Medicare to $ 2,000 per year and allow Medicare to negotiate prescription pricing with drug manufacturers.
The legislation sets a minimum corporate tax rate of 15% for most large corporations and provides $ 80 billion in funding to the IRS, allowing the agency to hire thousands of agents and refurbish old technology systems. decades.
The president signed the bill after returning from vacation in South Carolina. First lady Jill Bidenfor COVID-19 on Tuesday and will remain in South Carolina, but the president tested negative and returned to Washington. He is considered a close contact of the first lady.
In the coming weeks, the White House says the president will travel across the country to articulate how the bill will help Americans. It will also host an event to celebrate the enactment of the bill on September 6.
Despite its name, the extent to which the bill will do itremains to be seen. A Penn Wharton model claims the bill will not measurably affect inflation, and the Congressional Budget Office called the inflation impact “negligible” this year before helping to reduce inflation in subsequent years. However, the White House points to a letter signed by more than 120 economists promoting the bill and insists it will put “downward pressure on inflation by reducing the government’s budget deficit by some $ 300 billion over the next decade. “.
A reporter on Tuesday pointed out to Manchin that the CBO doesn’t think the law will do much to reduce inflation.
“They weren’t always right, I can tell you,” he replied.
Republicans have pointed to patterns suggesting the law could slightly suppress incomes.
“With the stroke of a pen, Joe Biden will secure the end of a Democratic career in Congress,” Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “Biden and Democrats raised taxes on hard-working Americans and gave the IRS $ 80 billion to hire 87,000 new IRS agents. Americans will never forget that Biden and Democrats raised taxes during a recession.”