Biden Signs Expansive Health, Climate and Tax Law
WASHINGTON — President Biden signed a long-awaited bill Tuesday aimed at lowering health costs, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and raising taxes on corporations and wealthy investors, capping more than a year of on-and-off negotiations. and his early economic legacy.
“This bill is the biggest step forward on climate ever,” Biden said, after receiving a standing ovation from a White House crowd largely filled with aides and allies.
The bill, which Democrats called the Inflation Reduction Act, will invest $370 billion in spending and tax credits in low-emission forms of energy to combat climate change. It extends federal subsidies for health insurance, allows the government to negotiate prescription drug prices for seniors on Medicare and is expected to reduce the federal budget deficit by about $300 billion over 10 years.
The legislation would raise taxes by about $300 billion, largely by imposing new taxes on large corporations. The law includes a new tax on certain company share buybacks and a minimum tax for large companies that use deductions and other methods to lower their tax bills. It is also bolstering funding from the Internal Revenue Service in an effort to tackle tax evasion and potentially collect hundreds of billions of dollars currently owed to the government but unpaid by high earners and corporations.
It went through the House and Senate entirely along party lines earlier this month as Democrats used a legislative process to evade a Republican filibuster.
The bill represents America’s largest investment in the fight against climate change. It aims to help the United States reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. That would put the country within reach of Mr Biden’s goal of cutting emissions by at least 50 percent over that period.
For months it looked like Mr Biden might not have such a bill to sign. Despite taking two-pronged victories over infrastructure financing — including roads, bridges, water systems and high-speed internet — and an industrial policy bill designed to counter China, the president had failed to bring his party together over a final bill to bear as much as possible. possibly from the rest of its economic agenda with only Democratic votes.
But a last-hour compromise between New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat and Majority Leader, and a tenacious centrist Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, paved the way for the agreement to move forward. Mr Manchin, Mr Schumer and other lawmakers joined Mr Biden at the signing on Tuesday.
“For anyone who thought Washington was broken and couldn’t do great things, the Democrats have shown that real change is possible,” said Mr. Schumer, before Mr. Biden’s comments.
Mr Biden nodded to Mr Manchin in his comments. “Joe,” he said, “I never doubted.”
Emily Cochrane, Michael D. Shear and Lisa Friedman reporting contributed.