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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

US climate bill clears Senate hurdle

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Democrats got emotional throwing fists into the air after the US Senate finally approved a key legislation of President Joe Biden’s on the domestic front.

The bill that took 18-months of wrangling will now be sent to the Democrats-controlled House where it could pass as soon as this week.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes $369 billion for climate action – the largest investment in US history, is expected to reduce US carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030, the BBC reported.

With the US midterm polls just months away, the bill’s passage into law would mark a major achievement for the White House’s long-stalled domestic economic agenda.

It would also raise corporate taxes and lower healthcare costs as part of a package surpassing $700billion, which the White House says will pay for itself.

Democrats negotiated among themselves for months to ensure the bill received the support of every one of the party’s 50 senators, which it required – alongside Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote – to pass the Senate.

The resulting compromise is a significantly scaled-down version of a far more expansive measure that many Democrats had hoped to approve last year. Some Republicans have said they will try to stall or block the progress of the bill, which also includes $64 billion for healthcare.

It now needs to be approved by the House, where Democrats have a slightly larger majority and expect to pass it with ease, before it can be signed into law by Biden.

Raising his fist in the air, Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said “after more than a year of hard work, the senate is making history”. “To Americans who’ve lost faith that Congress can do big things, this bill is for you,” he added.

Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, reportedly cried tears of joy as he left the chamber.

“Now I can look my kid in the eye and say we’re really doing something about the climate,” he said according to the New York Times.

Florida’s Republican Senator Marco Rubio argued the bill was out of touch as it doesn’t help lower prices for working people or keep criminals in jail, the BBC reported.

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