US Congress passes Joe Biden’s comprehensive climate and health plan

After a first victory in the Senate, Joe Biden’s comprehensive climate and health investment plan was adopted by the United States Congress on Friday. Called the “Inflation Reduction Act”, the reform includes 370 billion dollars devoted to the environment and 64 billion dollars to health.

The battle is won for the Biden camp. The American Congress certainly adopted Joe Biden’s massive investment plan on climate and health on Friday August 12, in a crucial political victory for the American president less than three months before decisive legislative elections.

After a similar vote in the Senate days earlier, with their narrow majority, Democrats in the House of Representatives pushed the plan to more than $430 billion.

The text, which should put the country on track to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets, will be signed into law by Joe Biden next week, the president said in a tweet.

“Today the American people won,” wrote Joe Biden. With this law, “families will see lower prices for medicines, health care and energy costs”.

Welcomed by most unions fighting against climate change, the reform includes 370 billion dollars dedicated to the environment and 64 billion dollars to health.

Called the “Inflation Reduction Act”, it intends to reduce the public deficit at the same time with a new minimum tax of 15% for all companies whose profits exceed one billion dollars.

“Today is a day of celebration,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said just before the vote. This law would allow American families to “prosper and let our planet survive”.

The Republican camp, for its part, accuses the text of generating unnecessary public expenditure, and denounces the use of the American tax authorities to finance them. Former President Donald Trump called on all Republicans on his Truth Social network to oppose it.

biggest climate investment

After coming to power with huge reform plans, Joe Biden initially called for an even bigger investment plan.

But the elected Democrats had to gradually revise their ambitions downwards, in particular to satisfy Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a state known for its coal mines. His support was needed to pass the Senate stage.

The lesson remains despite the largest climate investment ever made in the United States.

This should make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. The objective set by Joe Biden is a reduction of at least 50% by this deadline, but other measures, in particular regulatory, could partly fill the gap, according to experts.

“This law is a game-changer and a source of hope,” said Johanna Chao Krelic, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Dan Lashoff, director of the World Resources Institute in the United States, said on Friday that the measures taken “will encourage other countries to meet their commitments”.

“By creating strong incentives to invest in solar and wind power, (text) the market for coal-generated electricity will dry up over the next decade,” he summed up this week.

Under this reform, an American would receive up to $7,500 in tax credits for the purchase of an electric car. When installing solar panels on his roof, he will be covered at 30%.

more affordable drugs

Investments are also planned for the development of CO2 capture, resilience to forest fires and the renovation of housing for the most modest housing.

Several billion dollars in tax credits would be proposed to help the most polluting industries in their energy transition – a measure strongly criticized by the left of the party, despite everything that hides behind the text. .

The second part of this major investment plan aims to correct the enormous inequalities in access to care in the United States, in particular by lowering the price of drugs.

Medicare, a public health insurance system intended for people over 65, among others, will for the first time be able to negotiate the prices of certain drugs directly with pharmaceutical companies, and thus benefit from more competitive rates.

Seniors will also be guaranteed not to have to pay more than $2,000 a year for the drug starting in 2025.

The bill also plans to expand the protections of the “Affordable Care Act,” symbolic health insurance known as “Obamacare,” through grants to help families pay for medical coverage. Includes measures to facilitate access to health insurance.

AFP. with