The Senate could vote as early as next week on the $369 billion energy-climate bill. The agreement came just a week after Senator Joe Manchin refused to support Biden’s climate plan citing inflation concerns.

In a major legislative victory for US President Biden, a long-anticipated deal on a tax, energy, and climate bill proposal was finally agreed upon, after Democrat Senator Joe Manchin’s surprise U-turn. Earlier this month, the West Virginian had pulled his support on Biden’s economic agenda, citing inflation concerns amid larger spending.

The proposed Inflation Reduction Act – announced by Manchin and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday evening – would provide US$396 billion in funding for curbing emissions, manufacturing clean energy products, and advancing environmental justice initiatives – CNBC reports

Despite being a significantly smaller climate bill than what the Biden administration planned before facing Manchin’s repeated opposition, clean energy supported and environmentalist groups praised the new deal for including clean energy tax credits and rebates. The aim is to cut the consumer costs of electric vehicles, heat pumps, biomass stoves, and more to make the transition to a more sustainable life cheaper for Americans.

The climate bill also includes a US$27 billion clean energy technology accelerator to support the development of emission reduction technologies as well as a Methane Emissions Reduction Program. These measures are expected to boost domestic renewable power generation in the years to come and bring the US one step closer to reaching its net-zero emissions goal by 2050

Despite some promising measures, the climate bill still supports some fossil fuel projects through provisions that would mandate new oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. Manchin – who made millions from his family coal business and received more campaign money from the oil and gas industry than any other US senator – said drilling in these areas is still necessary to reach energy independence.

If passed and signed into law, the “historic” act would be the country’s largest climate investment ever taken by Congress, putting the US “on a path to roughly 40% emissions reduction by 2030” – the Act reads. The Senate is expected to vote on the proposed bill as soon as next week, before seeking agreement from the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.

Featured image by Third Wave Think Thank (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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