In an unexpected breakthrough, Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., reversed his opposition to fast moving passed a broad filibuster-proof bill on Wednesday, announcing that he will support a package that includes major investments in drug pricing, as well as provisions to address climate change and taxes for the wealthy.
Manchin announced the agreement in a joint statement with Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., after months of negotiations between the two appeared to have failed recently. The deal represents a major breakthrough for elements of President Joe Biden’s agenda that seemed as good as dead.
“The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will make a historic down payment on deficit reduction to fight inflation, invest in domestic energy production and production, and cut carbon emissions by about 40 percent by 2030,” said Schumer and Manchin. in a statement. “The bill will finally allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drugs and reduce health care costs for millions of Americans. In addition, we have reached an agreement with President Biden and Chairman Pelosi to enact comprehensive reform legislation for before the end of this fiscal year. We urge every member of the United States Senate to support this important legislation.”
The two Democrats said the text of the deal will be presented to the Senate MP on Wednesday evening “and the full Senate will consider it next week”.
The legislation, released by Schumer, still needs the support of all 50 Democratic-voting senators to become law, with no hope of GOP backing. But Manchin, who represents a very conservative state, has been the biggest opponent of a major bill for months, giving a version of the bill a good chance of getting through the Senate.
It would also have to pass the House before reaching Biden’s desk.
Biden praised the deal in a statement.
“This afternoon I spoke with Senators Schumer and Manchin and offered my support for the agreement they reached on a bill to fight inflation and reduce costs for American families,” Biden said, urging swift approval of the federal government’s bill. bill. “This is the action the American people have been waiting for. This is a solution to today’s problems – high health care costs and general inflation – and investment in our energy security for the future.”
According to a one-page summary, the bill will include $739 billion in new revenue through a 15% corporate tax, prescription drug savings and additional enforcement by the IRS, and will limit the so-called carry-interest tax credit.
The bill also includes $369 billion in energy security and climate change spending and $64 billion in funding for the Affordable Care Act, for a total of $433 billion in spending.
There will be more than $300 billion in deficit reduction, the one-page summary added.
“By a wide margin, this legislation will be the largest pro-climate legislation ever passed by Congress,” Schumer said in a statement, adding new summaries of the energy supplyjust like the tax provisions and drug pricing provisions. “I thank Senator Manchin for his willingness to participate and his commitment to reaching an agreement that can earn the support of all 50 Senate Democrats.”
In a statement of his own, Manchin refuted suggestions that he was cheating Democrats or backing off on proposals he said he supported. Democrats were outraged this month when Manchin suggested he oppose the inclusion of climate and tax provisions in the deal.
“As for my position, I am and will never walk away from solving the problems facing the nation we all love,” Manchin said in a statement. “I am a strong believer in adopting common sense policies that reduce inflation and address the major challenges America faces today and in the future.”
He added, “For too long the reconciliation debate in Washington has been defined by how it can move Democrats forward.”[‘] political agenda called Build Back Better. Build Back Better is dead, and instead we have the opportunity to make our country stronger by bringing Americans together.”
Two weeks ago, Manchin told Schumer that he was willing to move quickly on drug pricing and health insurance funding, but wanted to wait until mid-August to promote major investment in climate change or taxes, sources said at the time.
Manchin spokesman Sam Runyon said: “Today’s announcement is not a reversal of anything.”
The carry-rate provision could be a problem for Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., who last year signaled to party leaders against closing the tax relief, which mainly affects investment managers. Her office on Wednesday declined to immediately comment on the stipulation or the broader Schumer-Manchin deal.
But it represents only a small part of the bigger package, with estimated revenues of $14 billion, and it’s unlikely any version of the legislation will be prevented.
Sinema “will have to make a decision, but I know her concerns were kept in mind in putting it all together,” D-Mich. Senator Debbie Stabenow told NBC News after the deal was announced.
The early progressive reaction in the House of Representatives was positive.
“If it’s all true, and if the language really — reflects what the top lines are, it’s a huge victory for the American people,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “It’s a very important set of investments in people’s health care, keeping costs down, expanding subsidies and climate change.”
Kyle Stewart contributed.