The Senate approved the Democrats' sweeping health care and climate bill on Aug. 7 in a 51–50 vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote.
The estimated $740 billion package next goes to the House for consideration.
“It’s been a long, tough and winding road, but at last, at last we have arrived,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “The Senate is making history. I am confident the Inflation Reduction Act will endure as one of the defining legislative measures of the 21st century.”
Senators engaged in a round-the-clock marathon of voting that began on Aug. 6 and stretched into the afternoon of Aug. 7. Democrats voted against some three dozen Republican amendments to the legislation.
The bill ran into trouble midday over objections to a 15 percent corporate minimum tax that was disliked by private equity firms and other industries, forcing last-minute changes.
"It will close tax loopholes and it will reduce and reduce the deficit," Schumer said. "It will help every citizen in this country and make America a much better place."
Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a U.S. advocacy group, stated that the measure will increase taxes on thousands of mid-sized small businesses across the United States.
Concerns over objections to the corporate minimum tax on private equity firms and other industries threatened to slow the progress.Republicans said the measure would undermine an economy that policymakers are struggling to keep from plummeting into recession. They said the bill's business taxes would hurt job creation and force prices skyward, making it harder for people to cope with the nation's worst inflation since the 1980s.
"Democrats have already robbed American families once through inflation, and now their solution is to rob American families a second time," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the floor.
Spending and tax increases in the legislation would eliminate jobs while having an insignificant impact on inflation and climate change, the Kentucky Republican said.
More DetailsThe bill came to the floor about a week after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced he came to an agreement with Schumer in what is believed to be an attempt to boost Democrats' and Biden's chances during the 2022 midterms amid months of negative polling. Biden’s original climate and social measure collapsed after it was opposed by Manchin, who said it was too costly and would fuel inflation.
"The Inflation Reduction Act is the product of years of bipartisan conversations about the most impactful ways to produce more energy domestically, bring down energy and healthcare costs and pay down our debt. The IRA achieves this without raising taxes," Manchin wrote on Twitter.
Around the same time, the West Virginia Democrat said he would vote down GOP amendments.
Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) offered amendments to further expand the legislation’s health benefits, and those efforts were defeated. Most votes were forced by Republicans and many were designed to make Democrats look soft on issues such as U.S.–Mexico border security, gasoline and energy costs, and like bullies for wanting to strengthen IRS tax law enforcement.
Late on Aug. 6, Sanders said the measure won't reduce inflation and said it also doesn't go far enough with its climate-related measures.
"I want to take a moment to say a few words about the so-called Inflation Reduction Act' that we are debating this evening," he said from the Senate floor. "And I say so-called, by the way, because according to the [Congressional Budget Office], and other economic organizations that study this bill, it will, in fact, have a minimal impact on inflation.
"At a time when the drug companies are enjoying huge profits, the pharmaceutical industry will still be allowed to charge the American people by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs."