The Senate voted Sunday to pass the Democrats’ massive social spending and taxation “Inflation Reduction Act” after a weekend “vote-a-rama” that lasted more than 15 hours.
The Biden White House will declare a legislative victory in the lead-in to the midterm elections courtesy of compromises made by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to support the bill, a move likely to displease their constituents.
The bill did not receive any Republican votes and passed with Vice President Kamala Harris’s vote that broke a 50-50 tie.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) claimed that the “largest package ever for climate” will somehow reduce the cost of energy and health care while reducing the deficit.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had a “night of triumph” thanks to the “longest 50-50 Senate in history.” He added that it was being done under “the most unpopular president of my lifetime.”
Schumer worked on putting together a plan that could pass strictly along party lines for more than a year. The bill was ultimately passed on Sunday using the budget reconciliation process, which allowed Schumer to bypass the Senate’s filibuster rule that normally requires 60 affirmative votes to advance legislation.
Even at the lowered threshold of 50 votes, Democrats ran into some hurdles this weekend, with several amendments being proposed to the bill that was only published for review on Saturday.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) introduced an amendment to address an apparent drafting issue that resulted in a proposed increase in taxes on some companies worth less than the $1 billion limit Democrats said they supported.
Thune’s amendment took $35 billion of proposed revenue out of the bill and would pay for that loss by extending the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap for an additional year. The SALT cap is hated by virtually all Democratic senators from high-income states like New York, California, Virginia, and New Jersey.
After modifying Thune’s amendment through another amendment proposed by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) that replaced the SALT cap with a “two-year extension of a so-called loss limitation policy” the bill advanced to final passage.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told reporters that the passage of the bill will haunt Democrats in the midterm elections. He said, “If you think people are this dumb, you’re gonna be sadly mistaken.” He added, “They wouldn’t let you do this in professional wrestling,”
The bill now advances to the House which returns from recess on Friday. It is expected to take the bill up immediately and then send it to Joe Biden to be signed into law.