US president acknowledges Democratic senator’s efforts after months of negotiations
President Joe Biden praised Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia upon the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act, handing him one of the pens he used to sign the major climate and health care legislation.
The legislation is largely a product of negotiations between Mr Manchin, whose coal brokerage firm has made him a wealthy man, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The two Democratic Senators flanked Mr Biden as he signed the bill and Mr Biden handed Mr Manchin one of the ceremonial pens that he used to sign the bill.
“Joe, I never had a doubt,” Mr Biden said during the signing ceremony. “Joe had an operation on his shoulder. I just want you to know it wasn’t because of anything we did.”
Mr Manchin and Mr Schumer negotiated the legislature after negotiations between Mr Biden and Mr Manchin broke down late last year on Build Back Better, Democrats’ proposed social spending legislation.
That would have included spending not just to combat climate change and expand health care, but also an enhanced, child tax credit, child care, universal pre-school, immigration reform and home care for people with disabilities and elderly people.
But Mr Manchin balked at the high price tag. That led to months of off-and-on negotiations between Mr Manchin and the Senate Majority Leader. The Senate passed the legislation mostly in tact from their original framework last Sunday after a marathon series of votes and the House passed it on Friday.
Every Democrat in both chambers voted for the legislation and every Republican member of Congress and Senator opposed the legislation.
The bill includes multiple provisions to combat climate change while promoting renewable forms of energy. I tillegg, the bill continues subsidies for the Affordable Care Act for three years, caps the price of insulin for Medicare recipients to $35 and allows Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.
Democrats plan to pay for the bill by increasing enforcement at the Internal Revenue Service–which Republicans have vocally criticised–og en 15 per cent minimum tax on large corporations.