Democrats celebrate after sweeping US climate change bill passes Senate

·2-min read
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer after the bill cleared the Senate (Getty Images)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer after the bill cleared the Senate (Getty Images)

US Democrats punched the air in joy after passing a sweeping $430bn (£355bn) bill intended to tackle climate change.

The Inflation Reduction Act, a key part of President Joe Biden’s policy agenda, passed 51-50 in the Senate after Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote.

Included in the bill are measures intended to fight climate change, lower drug prices and to raise some corporate taxes.

After being passed in a marathon 27-hour weekend session of debate the bill will now go to the House of Representatives, which is expected to pass it.

“The Senate is making history," an elated Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, after pumping his fists in the air as Democrats cheered the vote’s result.

“To Americans who’ve lost faith that Congress can do big things, this bill is for you," he said. "This bill is going to change America for decades.”

Mr Schumer said the legislation contains “the boldest clean energy package in American history" to fight climate change while reducing consumer costs for energy and some medicines.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes some £305bn for climate action, the largest investment in US history. It is hoped this will cut US carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.

Republicans had opposed the bill over its spending, with months of intense wrangling taking place before the bill could clear the Senate.

Democrats hope its passage will help the party in November’s midterm elections at a time when President Biden is suffering in the polls.

The party says that the measure will pay for itself and bring down the federal deficit over time, bringing down inflation in the process.

But Republicans have argued it will fail to address inflation and allege that it could undermine future growth.

The passed bill was a modified version of a more ambitious piece of legislation, after Mr Biden faced opposition from lawmakers in his party.

Compromises were reached to secure the backing of Democratic Senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Among the bill’s measures are tax credits for clean energy development and a $27bn (£22.1bn) “clean energy technology accelerator" to promote renewable technologies.

Some households could also receive tax credit to buy an electric car, among other changes.