Senate Passes Democrats’ Health and Climate Bill

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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,” said 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 claimed. “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.

“Any business that has [private equity] in its capital structure is now considered a subsidiary of that firm and thus subject to 15 percent book tax,” John Kartch, a spokesman for ATR, wrote on Twitter.

“As written, the provision now appears restructured to define any company with private equity in its capital structure to be considered a subsidiary of that private equity firm for purposes of the tax,” the group said in a statement. “This means that these companies would now be swept up in the new 15 percent tax on book income. This provision would greatly expand the reach of the book minimum tax to apply to small and midsize companies that require capital investment to grow their business.”

By Jack Phillips

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