There are still surprises in Washington, too. And Wednesday night’s is remarkable on several levels. On the one hand, because the Democratic majority in the Senate is actually in place – and thus US President Joe Biden could deliver success again after a long time.
On the other hand, because of all people, the much-maligned Senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin, negotiated the deal for the climate, social and tax package with the Democratic Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer. The agreement has the “potential for a really big deal,” comments the New York Times.
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The draft includes 430 billion dollars for the energy supply, electric cars and health insurance, among other things. In return, the minimum tax for large companies is to be raised to 15 percent and tax loopholes for the particularly rich are to be closed.
It’s all a lot less than what Biden wanted to implement with his ambitious “Build Back Better” plan, and many progressives will be disappointed.
However, after “Build Back Better” failed, mainly due to Manchin’s resistance, which justified it with concerns about further rising inflation, the deal is now the most promising proposal to date to give the democratic government another point victory before the midterm elections in November enable. In these elections, the Democrats are threatened with losing their majority in the House of Representatives and possibly also in the Senate.
Her majority in the Senate is already extremely narrow. Democrats and Republicans each have 50 senators, Vice President Kamala Harris can tip the scales for the Democrats if they vote together for a law.
The bill is expected to pass the Senate next week, even without Republican support. In the next few days, a decision will be made as to whether the package will be approved for a legislative process with a simple majority, Schumer said.
Two uncertainties also need to be resolved: Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who like Manchin likes to vote against the party line, has not yet indicated how she will vote.
And on Thursday, the news that Senator Dick Durbin has contracted Covid sparked unrest. All 50 Democrats would have to be present and vote for the vote. However, the hope of the Democrats is that the senator from Illinois will return in time.
The various measures are intended to reduce the budget deficit by around $300 billion and thus help in the fight against current inflation, which had recently risen to a 40-year high of 9.1 percent. Carbon dioxide emissions are also to be reduced by around 40 percent by 2030.
If the package is passed, Biden could come closer to his climate goal that the US will save 50 percent of its CO2 emissions by 2030 compared to 2005. He had promised that when he rejoined the Paris climate agreement on the day he took office, from which his predecessor Donald Trump had withdrawn the United States.
Recently it had looked as if Biden could fail with his climate goals. The Supreme Court has just slowed down the momentum with its decision to deprive the environmental authority EPA of the right to issue climate protection requirements for coal and gas-fired power plants, for example. Added to this was the blocking attitude on the part of the Republicans and the conservative Democrats Manchin.
It all led a frustrated Biden to accuse Congress of “failure” in the fight against the “existential threat” of climate change. The White House considered declaring a “national climate emergency” so that the president himself could stop oil and gas drilling off the coast, ban oil exports or switch government procurement to climate-friendly products.
The urgency could now be over for the time being. On Wednesday, Biden, who, according to CNN, had called Manchin for the first time since December, spoke of a “historic legal text”. The Americans had been waiting for this. The Senate and House of Representatives should now quickly pass the “Inflation Reduction Bill 2022”.