Clock is ticking for Congress to pass Inflation Reduction Act

 

DELMARVA – The clock is ticking for President Joe Biden to get his Inflation Reduction Act passed. Congress is set to enter its August recess on Saturday.

Key Bill Provisions

The bill touts Medicare’s potential new ability to negotiate prices of certain medications, and would also impose penalties on drug companies if they increase their prices faster than inflation. A 15% minimum tax on certain corporations is also included in the bill. That increase is expected to raise $313 billion over a decade.

Climate provisions are also in the bill. If the bill passes, those provisions would make the biggest climate investment in U.S. history. Senator Chuck Schumer says it would cut greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 in the U.S.

However, other priorities for the Democrats are not included in the bill. That includes the creation of a universal pre-K program, and an extension of the enhanced child tax credit. Also not included, are an expansion of Medicare benefits, and the creation of a federally funded paid family and sick leave program.

Close Vote

Delaware State University professor of political science Dr. Samuel Hoff says he thinks the bill has a good chance of passing. But, he predicts it could come down to a 50/50 split in the Senate.

“I think with all these variables in there, assuming that [Arizona] Senator Kyrsten Sinema signs onto it, I think that it has a good chance, and if all of the other Democrats stay on it, obviously,” said Dr. Hoff. “All indications are that this will sort of be a straight partisan vote. So, not only is her vote critical, but the attendance of all the Democrats in order to vote for it is, as well. While that’s not normally a concern, we still have COVID-19 lurking, as well as other potential emergencies.”

Looking Ahead

Dr. Hoff says another way to try and figure out how the vote will go, is to look at work Congress has already done this session. He says the passage of legislation around key issues like gun control and American computer chip manufacturing may be good signs for President Biden’s agenda. “Putting all those issues together, I think it has a chance. But, it will have to be done in the context of this short window. I don’t think it’ll be an issue as much in the House, as it will be in the Senate,” said Dr. Hoff.

Looking ahead, Dr. Hoff says it may be now or never for the bill to pass. “When folks come back, I think everybody’s fixated on the upcoming midterm election. So, you don’t expect a lot to really get done in that time period before the November elections,” he said.

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