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Biden signs major climate change and health care bill into law

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President Joe Biden signed law on Tuesday for a major bill on climate change and health care spending, giving Democrats new impetus in the run-up to the midterm elections in which Republicans are suddenly less confident in their predicted landslide victory.

The bill, called the Inflation Reduction Act, was touted by the White House as the largest commitment to climate change mitigation in U.S. history, and to change long-sought changes in the way drugs are priced, while making the tax system fairer. is made, with a minimum tax of 15 percent for companies.

“A nation can be transformed. That’s what’s happening now,” Biden said in a White House speech likely to form the basis of his campaign ahead of the November polls, where Republicans hoped to end the limited Democrat control over Congress.

“It’s about tomorrow,” Biden said. “It’s about delivering progress and prosperity to American families. It’s about showing America and the American people that democracy still works in America.”

While the sprawling bill is a fraction of the gargantuan package Biden originally attempted and failed to pass Congress, the fact that he could sign even the scaled-down version marked a political resurrection — a success Democrats now hope will it could mean a comeback at the polls later this year.

Under the plan, the government will spend about $370 billion on green energy initiatives, while also allowing the state-run Medicare system to negotiate prescription drug prices, a popular measure designed to reduce the reduce the often devastating prices Americans have to pay.

Although the Republican National Committee called a provision to subsidize the purchase of electric vehicles a “scam,” the Sierra Club, an environmental lobby group, praised what it called a bold step in the fight against an overheated planet.

“This day will be remembered by future generations as the turning point against the fossil fuel industry and toward a healthier, cleaner and more equitable future for all people in this country,” said Ramon Cruz, Sierra Club president.

The bill’s huge cost will be met in large part by plugging numerous tax loopholes and enforcing a new 15 percent minimum tax on corporations — a measure Biden has long promised to his grassroots as a way to keep the rich. to get them to “pay some of their fair price”. part.”

Democratic revival, Republican disorder?

Battered by outrage over the chaotic final exodus of US troops from Afghanistan, persistent Covid waves and the highest inflation in 40 years, the Biden administration has had a rough last 12 months.

To add to the gloom on the left, the opposition of just two center-right Democratic senators has repeatedly doomed party attempts to exploit a wafer-thin Senate advantage.

Polls show Republicans are likely to gain a healthy majority in the House of Representatives and may also win the Senate.

This could turn Biden into a lame duck for the rest of his first term, with Republicans halting his legislative agenda and subjecting government officials to aggressive scrutiny by congressional committees.

In recent weeks, however, there has been a reversal in momentum.

Republicans are embroiled in the scandal over the alleged illegal hoarding of top secret documents by former President Donald Trump at his Florida golf club.

Meanwhile, Biden has racked up a string of victories that allow the White House to send a message that Democrats are focused on helping ordinary people.

In addition to the Inflation Reduction Act, Congress passed the first meaningful gun safety legislation in three decades, a government-funded plan to rebuild the anemic US microchip industry, and a bill to expand health care for military veterans exposed to toxic chemicals. smoke.

On top of his early presidency victories to put billions of dollars into supporting the pandemic-stricken economy and transforming national infrastructure spending, this amounts to a serious legacy, Biden argued.

“I know there are people here today who have a dark and desperate view of this country. I am not one of them,” he said.

The new climate and health care law — which every Republican congressman is opposed to — meant “the American people won and special interests lost,” Biden said.

“That’s the choice we face: we can protect the already powerful or show the courage to build a future where everyone has an equal chance. That’s the America I believe in.”

(AFP)

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