Lightning struck Thursday next to the White House, killing two passers-by and leaving two others in critical condition. As the weather storm whipped through the city, political calm reached the Democratic ranks on Capitol Hill. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democratic senator from Arizona, has agreed to give her vote to Joe Biden’s flagship project, which is experiencing moments of relief amid the thunder and lightning that have marked her mandate.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer won the support of rebel Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia last week. It was a decisive step and the most celebrated achievement, but it could come to nothing without the vote of Sinema, the other wayward senator. This Thursday, the cameras of the photojournalists were looking for her insistently. She knew she was the protagonist and has achieved some minor concessions in exchange for her key vote.
The Senate is divided into two halves. Democrats and Republicans have 50 senators and the tie is broken by the vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, who serves as president of the Senate. But the Democrats cannot spare a single vote. The Democrats want the House of Representatives to begin discussing the project on Saturday and for Congress to approve it in a few days, before the August break.
From the original plan, Build Back Better o Build Back Better, not enough left to keep the name. Although inflation is not reduced by law just like that, Biden has renamed his flagship project the Inflation Reduction Act, aware that rising prices are the main concern of American citizens (and voters). Just three months before the mid-term elections, in which a third of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives (435 seats) are renewed, Biden needs to counteract that discomfort.
The White House is overreacting like never before. He has sent dozens of press releases in recent days about the project, which unclogs Biden’s economic agenda. “It is the only bill that can reduce the cost of living for Americans immediately,” Biden proclaimed this Thursday at an event of the Democratic National Committee in which he participated by teleconference from the White House, where he is being held for the covid It is true that the regulation incorporates measures to lower the cost of prescription drugs and the price of health insurance, but it is also true that the weighting of these products in the price indices is minimal.
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The rule also encourages green energy and the purchase of electric vehicles with the promise of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. With a mobilization of 369,000 million in investments, Biden removes the thorn from the Supreme Court ruling that took away powers from the Environmental Protection Agency Environment (EPA) to regulate emissions. In addition, Biden assures that this will allow the electricity bill of an average household to be reduced by $500 a year, although that remains to be seen and certainly will not be in the short term.
The law also imposes new taxes on large companies and the largest fortunes, something that Biden also justified this Thursday: “Look, I come from the most business state in the world. There are more corporations incorporated in Delaware than in all other states in the country combined. I’m not against companies, but everyone has to pay a little. Fifty-five of these largest corporations in the country paid zero…zero in federal taxes while making $40 billion in profits a year. Is not correct. Everyone should pay their fair share. I’m not even asking you to pay your full fair share. We are going to put a minimum corporate tax of 15% on those fifty companies”.
The tax increase will be somewhat different after the concessions started by Sinema. To win your vote, Democrats have agreed to scrap a $14 billion tax hike for some asset managers. hedge funds and venture capital executives and change the structure of that minimum 15% tax on companies that Biden was referring to. In return, the rule will incorporate a rate of 1% on the repurchase of shares by large companies. The law will also incorporate funds to deal with the drought that is punishing Arizona.
There is still some obstacle. The norm is being approved by a special budgetary procedure that allows avoiding the requirement of 60 votes to submit a norm for approval, thus avoiding republican filibustering. But the so-called parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, a kind of Senior Lawyer in the Senate, has to certify that the entire law meets the requirements for this procedure to be used. If not, further adjustments would still be required.
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