ARIZONA NEWS

Senate approves Biden’s sweeping Inflation Reduction Act

Aug 7, 2022, 1:24 PM | Updated: 1:30 pm

PHOENIX — The Senate on Sunday passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to combat inflation, fight climate change, lower health-care costs and raise taxes on corporations.

The estimated $740 billion package was voted for along party lines with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the 50-50 tie. The House will vote on it next, and President Joe Biden said in a statement he looks forward to signing it into law.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona was a main player in the negotiation process, pushing against her democratic colleagues on several fronts including the corporate tax rate. She had a prominent say in how the final language is written.

“We’re proud our negotiations ensured the Inflation Reduction Act – which passed the Senate today and moves one step closer to law – will help Arizonans build better lives for themselves and their families by lowering prices, making health care more affordable and accessible, and securing Arizona’s water and energy future,” Sinema said in a statement.

“Critically, we accomplished these goals while boosting innovation and spurring job creation so Arizona’s economy can continue to grow and thrive.”

Sinema and Sen. Mark Kelly said in statements that the bill will help lower costs for families and seniors in Arizona while also battling the effect climate change has on the state through renewable energy production.

Senators engaged in a round-the-clock marathon of voting that began Saturday and stretched late into Sunday afternoon. Democrats swatted down some three dozen Republican amendments designed to torpedo the legislation.

“When I meet with Arizonans and small businesses across our state, the top concern I hear about is rising costs,” Kelly said in a statement. “The Inflation Reduction Act includes our plan to lower prescription drug costs for seniors, has resources we negotiated to combat the impacts of drought, and tackles climate change that is making wildfires and heat in our state more severe by boosting renewable energy manufacturing and production.

“The Inflation Reduction Act shows we can accomplish those goals without raising taxes on middle class Arizonans and small businesses, who will keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets.”

The act includes the largest-ever federal effort on climate change — close to $400 billion — caps out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare to $2,000 a year and extends expiring subsidies that help 13 million people afford health insurance. By raising corporate taxes, the whole package is paid for, with some $300 billion extra revenue for deficit reduction.

Barely more than one-tenth the size of Biden’s initial 10-year, $3.5 trillion rainbow of progressive aspirations in his Build Back Better initiative, the new package abandons earlier proposals for universal preschool, paid family leave and expanded child care aid.

The measure is set to cap insulins costs to $35 a month for Medicare users, limit Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket drug costs at $2,000 per year and expand premium and co-pay assistance on prescription drugs for low-income persons.

The bill also awards over $20 billion to farmers and ranchers to expand practices that reduce greenhouse gases and $5 billion to protect communities from wildfires by investing in forest health projects.

The sweeping legislation also invests in clean technology manufacturing like wind turbines, incentivizes clean energy jobs and grants to make affordable housing energy efficient.

“The Inflation Reduction Act will lower prescription drug costs for seniors and families across Phoenix, boost our efforts to tackle drought and create more clean energy jobs,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said in a statement.

Biden addressed in his statement that the bill will not raise taxes those making under $400,000 a year.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. 

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Senate approves Biden’s sweeping Inflation Reduction Act