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Biden signs major climate, health care and tax bill into law

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed into law Tuesday a major Democratic spending bill that seeks to fight climate change, raise taxes on corporations and expand health care coverage.

The bill, dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act, is a major legislative achievement for Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. It passed the House and the Senate last week with the support of every Democrat and no Republicans.

“With this law, the American people won, and the special interests lost,” Biden said in remarks from the White House. “We didn’t tear down; we built up. We didn’t look back; we looked forward. And today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant.”

The president signed the measure after he returned to Washington from his vacation in South Carolina, where he monitored the House’s passage of the legislation Friday. He now heads to Wilmington, Delaware, for the rest of his vacation.

Aug. 11, 202208:40

The legislation will raise about $700 billion through corporate tax increases and prescription drug savings, and it will spend about $400 billion on clean energy and health care provisions. The package falls far short of what most Democrats had wanted, however: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., stripped out safety net items, and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., blocked a slew of tax increases.

The House passed the bill in a 220-207 vote, along party lines, with all Republicans opposing it. Earlier in the week, the Senate passed the measure in a 51-50 vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.

“In this historic moment, Democrats sided with the American people, and every single Republican in the Congress sided with this special interest in this vote,” Biden said Tuesday. “That’s the choice we face: We can protect the already powerful or show the courage to build a future where everybody has an even shot.”

The bill features a series of provisions to help consumers, including tax credits for clean energy household products and electric vehicles and savings on prescription drugs and health insurance premiums.

Although some elements of the law will be implemented immediately, such as tax credits for electric vehicle purchases, many will not go into effect until next year. Extended Affordable Care Act subsidies and a $35-a-month insulin price cap for Medicare enrollees, for example, will be available starting in January, while the impact of prescription drug negotiations will not be felt until 2026.

Biden plans to lean on members of his Cabinet to tout the bill’s benefits as part of what White House officials described as a “coordinated August recess travel blitz.”

Nine members of the Cabinet are already set to hold 18 events across the country, including Tuesday — Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan plans to discuss the legislation at a conference in Oklahoma City.

White House officials said they plan to hold a larger “celebration” of the legislative victory Sept. 6.

Sahil Kapur and Mike Memoli contributed.

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