President Joe Biden signed the landmark bill on Tuesday, describing it as the country’s “biggest step forward on climate ever”. The package is also a major win for Democrats ahead of November’s midterm elections.

US President Joe Biden finally signed the healthcare, climate and tax package on Tuesday, marking the end of a heated debate and more than a year of negotiations among Democrats. 

The signing came just days after the House passed the bill in a party-line vote of 220 to 207. Senate has previously passed the Inflation Reduction Act 51 to 50, with Vice-President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. 

The bill’s predecessor and one of Biden’s first legislative framework proposals, the Build Back Better Act, stalled in the Senate mainly due to resistance from Joe Manchin. The centrist Senator from West Virginia quietly negotiated the Inflation Reduction Act with majority leader Chuck Schumer over the last few months, announcing his surprising U-turn in late July.  

This historic piece of legislation is set to pave the way for a greener future in the US – the world’s second-largest polluting country after China – but ultimately also for the entire planet. 

US$369 billion will be directed toward investments in renewable energy such as solar and wind as well as emission reduction through tax breaks for electric vehicles. Experts estimate a 40% reduction in US emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels, bringing the country one step closer to its commitment to reach net zero by 2050. 

“With this law, the American people won and the special interests lost,” Biden said in the bill-signing ceremony at the White House. “Today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright and the promise of America is real and just beginning.”

With midterms looming and Republicans fighting to regain control of Congress, Democrats are hoping that this legislative success will help overcome any damage to their prospects posed by high inflation.

Featured Image: Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz (Flickr)

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