House Democrats OK sweeping healthcare, tax and climate bill

Democrats in the House of Representatives on Friday passed a sweeping health care, tax and climate change bill. Now they have to sell it.

The vote count was 220 to 207, with all Democrats voting in favor and all Republicans opposing.

With the midterm elections fast approaching, Congressional Democrats have had a string of legislative victories in recent weeks – expanding NATO, ensuring health care and benefits for the United States. veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, invested nearly $53 billion in the U.S. semiconductor industry, and passed bipartisan gun safety legislation.

That momentum culminated in the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, an offshoot of President Biden’s many versions of the failed Rebuilding Better Act. The IRA, which was conducted by the Senate on Sunday with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking ties, is now approaching President Biden’s desk for his signature.

With Biden poised to sign the bill in the coming days, House Democrats say their focus should now shift to advertising its benefits to Americans. They are willing to admit that they have not adequately informed the American people about how the major legislation previously passed by Congress will improve their lives, including a $1 trillion infrastructure package. dollars last year.

Representative Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) said Democrats need a “joint approach” that goes beyond the media and perimeter, and directly into communities.

“We need regulatory officials. We need members of Congress. We need state legislatures. We need 1,000 replacements that are flooding every community in this country,” Khanna said in an interview. “We need to do things like that: get people out into their communities, not just their counties but in communities across this country, talk about why this is so important.” important.”

Congressman Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) introduced three tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act: one for used electric vehicles, including hybrids, and two for home efficiency for new and existing homeowners.

“A lot of times people don’t realize how important these achievements are,” says Gomez. “They don’t know what’s in it and they don’t know how they benefit.”

Forty-one percent of Americans are familiar with the Inflation Reduction Act, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released this week. However, more than a quarter of respondents said they had never heard of the law, while almost a third admitted to having heard of it but did not know more about it.

The bill would allow Medicare to negotiate certain prescription drug prices, cap out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000 per year, and limit price increases by drugmakers.

On climate, it will reduce emissions by about 40% by 2030, proponents say.

The measure would also impose new taxes on wealthy corporations and their stock buyback programs, and provide funding to strengthen taxpayer services and enforcement. of the Internal Revenue Service.

It includes $4 billion to address the water crisis along the Colorado River.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) framed the law as a “kitchen table issue” at a news conference hours before the vote.

“If you’re sitting at the kitchen table wondering how you’re going to pay your bills — health care bills, prescription drug bills — then this bill is for you,” Pelosi said.

Josh Harder (D-Turlock), one of California’s most vulnerable Democrats seeking re-election, stressed the importance of saving Americans as quickly as possible.

“Central Valley families are now paying an arm and a leg at the grocery store and the gas pump, so our #1 priority is to make this bill work so they see real savings. get money for prescription drugs, healthcare costs, and Harder told The Times.

House Republican leadership derided the bill as the “Inflation, Recession and IRS Military Act” in a message sent to all House Republican offices.

In a lengthy speech on the floor, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) referred to the legislation as a “falsity, toneless bill” that would raise taxes and “introduce bills” tax credits like candy without accountability”.

Radicals cheered the legislation while acknowledging that they would have liked it to go further to combat climate change and strengthen the nation’s social safety net.

“We – at the Progressive Caucus – are heartbroken to see investments in care, housing, immigration, the workforce and more left on the cutting floor,” said Progressive Congress Chairwoman. Caucus Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who called it “particularly outrageous” that Republicans had stripped away a provision that would have capped insulin prices at $35 a month for everyone with insurance private insurance.

Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) commended the bill for addressing some of voters’ most pressing issues.

“This is the biggest step the United States has ever taken to combat climate change, but I know that this is not a ‘mission done’ time,” Huffman said. “We have to get off the fossil fuel roller coaster that fueled inflation and killed our planet once and for all.”

In an appearance Friday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer suggested that Senate Democrats in battleground states have reaped the benefits of passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in the Senate.

“The way I see it,” Schumer said, “if we held the election today, it would be very likely that we would pick a few seats.”

Times staff member Jennifer Haberkorn, writer, contributed reporting.

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-08-12/house-democrats-tout-sweeping-healthcare-tax-and-climate-bill House Democrats OK sweeping healthcare, tax and climate bill

Edmund DeMarche

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