Democrats may be about to achieve their goals as the Senate considers a contentious plan.


The leader of the majority party in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, stated on Friday that he thought Democrats had the support required to pass the Inflation Reduction Act. hide caption Mariam Zuhaib/AP

switch to caption Mariam Zuhaib/AP

According to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Democrats have the support necessary to pass the Inflation Reduction Act.

AAP Mariam Zuhaib Senate Democrats appear to be close to enacting a spending plan that would try to address climate change, the high cost of prescription pharmaceuticals, and reduce the deficit by around $300 billion after weeks of discussions to resurrect the heart of their election-year agenda.

When Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., withdrew his support three weeks ago, expressing concerns about contributing to historically high inflation, the bill was all but dead.

To the amazement of some senators, he and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., revealed an agreement just last week. The Senate will start debating the bill on Saturday afternoon.

The law represents an important advance for President Biden’s domestic agenda.

At a Friday ceremony at the White House, Biden declared that “this package is a gamechanger for working people and our economy.” “I eagerly anticipate the Senate taking up and swiftly approving this legislation.”

The law is being approved through budget reconciliation, which enables Democrats to do it with a simple majority in the chamber’s evenly divided body and to do so without the danger of a Republican filibuster, which typically applies to legislation.

Additionally, it means that the Senate parliamentarian must examine each portion of the measure to ensure that it genuinely contains provisions that will have a significant impact on the budget. In honor of the late West Virginia senator Robert Byrd, this review procedure is frequently referred to as the “Byrd Bath.”

Democrats said on Saturday that the legislator had accepted the bill’s essential provisions relating to sustainable energy and the cost of prescription drugs.

After the Sinema Agreement, Democrats appear to have all 50 votes in their conference. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who was the final holdout on the measure, declared late Thursday night that she would “go forward” with the legislation; with her backing, the Senate effectively has all 50 Democratic votes required to pass the measure.

Sinema needed to agree to the bill’s narrowing of the carried interest tax loophole in order to support it. Democrats claim that the legislation, which affects how private equity is taxed, would have raised $14 billion.

However, what Sinema sought to add generates more income. The excise duty on stock buybacks is 1%. The progressive Democrats and Schumer expressed their enthusiasm for that provision of the package, which they claim raises nearly $74 billion, on Friday.

At a press conference on Friday, Schumer stated, “What we added thrills me and I think it excites all Democrats and particularly progressives.” “Stock buybacks irritate me. They rank among corporate America’s most self-serving practices, in my opinion.”

The $4 billion in drought resiliency funding proposed by Senators Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Mark Kelly, and Catherine Cortez-Masto, D-Nev. Sinema has also requested that this amendment be made to the measure.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has stated that the proposal doesn’t do enough for working class Americans by not raising the minimum wage, making child care more affordable, or addressing the student loan crisis, has continued to criticize the plan.

On Wednesday, he referred to it as the “so-called” Inflation Reduction Act when speaking on the Senate floor.

This proposal, he added, “does absolutely nothing to address the massive challenges that working families across this country are facing today.” He called it “an extremely modest piece of legislation” as it is currently structured.

A situation in which Sanders’ objections prohibit him from voting for the bill at all is extremely unlikely, he continued, but he plans to raise them during the amendment process on the floor over the weekend.

Progressives in the House, who are scheduled to reconvene to consider the issue late next week, could be another barrier for the plan.

THE BIG MYSTERY IS THE DATE OF THE FINAL VOTE Both sides are preparing for up to 20 hours of debate that may begin once Schumer introduces the bill while senators wait for the Senate parliamentarian to finish her review of the proposal.

Democrats are probably going to give up the majority of their time. It could take considerably less time than anticipated because some reports shows Republicans might as well participate. If it does, the “vote-a-rama,” in which senators are permitted to submit an infinite number of amendments to the bill, may start as early as Saturday night.

A request to read aloud the whole text of the measure, which is about 700 pages long, is also permitted during vote-a-rama.

IT ENDS A BUSY AND EFFECTIVE STREAMLINE FOR BIDEN’S DOMESTIC AGENDA. Bipartisan votes were cast in the Senate during the past few weeks on bills to increase health services for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, legalize semiconductors, and admit Finland and Sweden to NATO.

But Schumer has made it plain that Senate Democrats will also act alone if necessary, as they are with this bill. No Republican will support the bill, but with to Vice President Harris’ tie-breaking vote, Democrats can still win.

It brings to an end a hectic week on Capitol Hill and also establishes a busy week for the president, who will already be signing a number of laws into law next week.