President Biden and the Democratic Party accomplished a major victory today as the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act containing much-needed reforms to health care policy, climate action, and taxation without a single Republican vote. In a 50-50 vote, the bill was pushed over into the margin of victory by a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.
"I want to thank every single one of them for their remarkable work," @SenSchumer says of US Senate staffers who worked to pass #InflationReductionAct and moves to have all of their name placed in the record. pic.twitter.com/IIUsZWGdtD
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) August 7, 2022
Although some of the provisions of the bill were weakened by amendments introduced during the “Vote-a-Rama” portion of the debate of the bill — most notably the removal of a $35 price cap on the cost of insulin paid by people with private health insurance — Democrats rejoiced over their hard-fought victory for a bill that, although less comprehensive and ambitious than President Biden’s Build Back Better initiative, still contains many of the most necessary provisions of that earlier bill.
Top Democratic leaders crowed over the victory on social media after the gavel went down and the bill was approved.
One of the ways you give working people a fighting chance is by making health care, prescriptions, energy, and so much more, affordable and accessible.
The Inflation Reduction Act will get that done.
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 7, 2022
The Inflation Reduction Act will reduce the deficit by $300 billion.
And we’ll do it without raising taxes a penny on those making less than $400,000 a year.
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 6, 2022
I just cast the tie-breaking vote to start debate on the Inflation Reduction Act. This bill will lower health care and prescription drug costs for families and address the climate crisis. Let's get this done.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) August 7, 2022
The Inflation Reduction Act that this Senate Democratic Majority has passed will endure as one of the defining legislative feats of the 21st century:
It reduces inflation, lowers costs, creates millions of good-paying jobs, and is the boldest climate package in U.S. history.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 7, 2022
The Inflation Reduction Act will make millions of people's lives better, lowering health care costs & investing in clean energy for the most significant congressional action on climate change—ever.
Everyone who organized & voted in 2020 played a part in this achievement. Bravo.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 7, 2022
For decades, the gun lobby and the oil companies and the drug industry controlled Washington. And ordinary people suffered.
Ans then, in one summer, all that changed.
The first gun safety bill in 30 years. Historic climate change legislation. Caps on drug costs.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 7, 2022
This is huge: The Senate has officially passed the Inflation Reduction Act. Democrats fought tooth and nail to pass this legislation to lower drug prices and secure a clean energy future, and we delivered.
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) August 7, 2022
Today I helped the Senate pass the Inflation Reduction Act which will finally give Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices & extend vital ACA subsidies—keeping Georgians’ health care costs from spiking.
This is how we lower costs & strengthen health care for Georgians.
— Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (@SenatorWarnock) August 7, 2022
We passed it.
The Inflation Reduction Act will lower prescription drug and energy costs and take action to combat climate change — all while bringing down the deficit and fighting inflation.
This bill delivers on Granite Staters' priorities & I urge the House to pass it ASAP.
— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) August 7, 2022
Even Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), one of the two primary obstacles to the original Build Back better bill, was effusive in his support for the bill that he negotiated in its wake.
The Inflation Reduction Act is the product of years of bipartisan conversations about the most impactful ways to produce more energy domestically, bring down energy and healthcare costs and pay down our debt. The IRA achieves this without raising taxes.
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) August 7, 2022
The response from progressive voices on Twitter was equally positive, although somewhat leavened by the disappointment that all of the measures included in the Build Back Better plan did not make it into the compromise Inflation Reduction Act.
Holy shit!!!! What a win, not only for Democrats, but for America!!!!!!!! https://t.co/Gh8PshPVfp
— Brett Meiselas (@BMeiselas) August 7, 2022
Democrats get shit done. Republicans whine and cry
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) August 7, 2022
Senate Dems just passed the biggest legislative achievement of the Biden era– a bill protecting climate, lowering healthcare costs, and making billion-dollar corps pay their fair share.
For comparison, the biggest legislative win of the Trump era gave a tax cut to billionaires.
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) August 7, 2022
Sen. Chris Coons tells @MSNBC that President Biden called to thank the Senate cloakroom staff, who'd been working all night.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 7, 2022
man, those georgia runoffs for u.s. senate turned out to be pretty important
— Evan Smith (@evanasmith) August 7, 2022
Republicans complain about inflation a lot, but none of them are voting for the Inflation Reduction Act.
On May 19 the U.S. House passed a bill to prevent gasoline price gouging without a single Republican vote in favor. The vote was 217-207.
Do you see a pattern here?
— Aaron Black (@ABlackPolitical) August 7, 2022
The Inflation Reduction Act is half a loaf, and it doesn’t touch the Sinema tax loophole for fat-cat private equity and hedge-fund partners. But half a loaf is damned better than a Republican sour pickle.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) August 7, 2022
The Senate version of the Inflation Reduction Act must now be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by President Biden before it becomes the law of the land, but no one anticipates that either of those steps will present an obstacle to its final passage.
It remains to be seen whether this unprecedented accomplishment under our current polarized political environment will help Democrats win additional seats in Congress in the upcoming midterm elections, but the momentum right now is with the Democrats as they shepherd in legislation containing multiple benefits for average Americans that will finally help take action against the climate emergency and reduce rising medical expenses.
Hopefully, the American electorate will recognize which party is working on behalf of their interests and which is solely looking out for the benefit of their corporate fat cat political donors.
Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.