President Biden on Tuesday signed Democrats’ massive spending bill into law, calling it the “biggest step forward on climate ever.”
“With this law, the American people won, and the special interests lost,” Biden said during a signing ceremony at the White House. “For a while people doubted whether any of that was going to happen, but we are in a season of substance.”
He said the bill’s passage is proof for “the American people that democracy still works in America, notwithstanding… all the talk of its demise, not just for the privileged few, but for all of us.”
Biden’s approval comes after the House passed the measure in a 220-207 vote on Friday. It passed the Senate one week earlier in a party-line vote using budget reconciliation, which allows a measure to pass with a simple majority rather than needing to meet a 60-vote threshold.
The bill, which received support from every Democrat in the House and Senate but no Republicans, is essentially a pared down version of President Biden’s Build Back Better package that was put to rest last year when Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) pulled his support.
The so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” will allocate $369 billion for energy and climate initiatives, while another $64 billion will be used to extend expiring federal subsidies for people buying health insurance for another three years. The bill will impose new taxes to pay for it.
Despite its name, the bill’s impact on inflation is “expected to be statistically indistinguishable from zero,” according to an independent analysis performed by the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School.
Republicans have been outspoken against the legislation.
“It does nothing to bring the economy out of stagnation and recession, but rather, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 gives us higher taxes, more spending, higher prices and an army of IRS agents,” said Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.
The bill comes after Democrats passed a $1.9 trillion spending bill in March 2021, the so-called “American Rescue Plan.” Congress also passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure spending bill last November.