- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 16, 2022

President Biden on Tuesday signed his party’s $740 billion tax and spending bill into law to mark what he called “a season of substance” in America.

The bill signing caps more than a year of negotiations to secure support from moderate Democrats in the Senate and seals a significant legislative victory for Democrats’ climate and healthcare agenda ahead of the November elections.

“We’re delivering results for the American people,” Mr. Biden said. “Today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright and the promise of America is real and just beginning.”

The legislation, which Democrats titled the Inflation Reduction Act, passed along party lines in both Democrat-controlled chambers.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called lawmakers back to Washington last week during their August recess to give final passage to the bill. The legislation passed in the evenly split Senate 51-50 the week before with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.

The law includes a record amount of spending to combat climate change — roughly $375 billion over the next decade — and provisions that Democrats say will lower health care costs and ensure corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.

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Critics say the bill does little to fight inflation and introduces job-killing climate provisions and tax hikes that will stymie economic growth.

“Democrats’ policies have torn down the savings, the stability, and the lifestyles that families worked and sacrificed for years to build up,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Tuesday. “The effect of this one-party government has been an economic assault on the American middle class.”

“They have spent 18 months proving that,” he said. “They just spent hundreds of billions of dollars to prove it again.”

Economists agree that the law will have minimal impact on inflation.

Mr. Biden said Democrats “sided with the American people” in passing the bill while Republicans “sided with the special interest” in attempting to block it.

“My fellow Americans, that’s the choice we face,” Mr. Biden said. “We can protect the already powerful or show the courage to build a future where everybody has an even shot.”

“That’s the America I believe in,” he said. Today, we come a step closer to making that America real.”

Tuesday’s bill signing is the latest in a series of legislative victories for Mr. Biden in recent weeks, which the Democratic Party hopes will energize its base for the elections when control of the House and Senate are on the line.

In addition to the long-stalled spending bill, Mr. Biden scored a $280 billion science and technology law that includes a $52 billion payout to semiconductor manufacturers, sweeping healthcare benefits for veterans exposed to hazardous toxins in the line of duty and the nation’s first new guns control bill in decades.

“This has been one of the most productive stretches in Senate history,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer at the signing ceremony. “For anyone who thought Washington was broken, and couldn’t do big things, Democrats have shown real change is possible.”

Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, also used the occasion to take a shot at former President Donald Trump.

“The President deserves tremendous credit for this moment,” he said. “After four years of a president who relished creating chaos, Americans are seeing what it looks like to have a president and a Congress that’s focused on delivering results and making their lives better.”

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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