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Senate Democrats Pass the “Inflation Reduction Act” Tax and Spending Bill After Marathon “Vote-a-Rama”

Senate Democrats pulled off an all-night “vote-a-Rama” on Saturday that continued through the middle of Sunday day to defeat numerous Republican amendments and pass a hefty spending and taxing plan.

At 3:18 p.m. on Sunday, Vice President Kamala Harris, who is also the Senate’s president, cast the decisive vote that broke the tie to pass the bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, 51-50 on party lines. On Saturday, shortly after 7:30 p.m., the vote-a-Rama had started.

The 755-page Democratic bill that increases tax breaks for renewable energy broadens the IRS and implements other long-sought left-wing policies.

It also authorises $430 billion in new spending. The $740 billion in more revenue from tax increases and improved enforcement, which includes the employment of 87,000 extra IRS agents to perform audits and seek tax liens, are meant to counteract that.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, referred to the legislation as “one of the great legislative triumphs of the 21st century” before the vote.

According to Schumer, “Our bill is the boldest climate package in U.S. history. It cuts inflation, lowers expenses, generates millions of well-paying jobs, and reduces inflation.”

“This bill will usher in a period of reasonably priced sustainable energy in America. It changes the game. It’s a pivotal moment. And the wait has been lengthy. This measure is for Americans who no longer believe that Congress is capable of making significant changes.

Year-over-year inflation is 9.1% despite the Inflation Reduction Act’s adoption, and the average worker’s actual wages have decreased by over $3,400.

Despite the name of the bill, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania determined that it would actually slightly raise inflation in the short run.

Despite the 50-50 political split in the Senate, Democrats have occasionally amended the rules for specific amendments to block their passage, even after gaining support from certain Democrats in conservative and centrist states. But the majority of amendments were rejected on party lines.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, proposed an amendment to the bill that would have removed the $80 billion allocated to increasing IRS enforcement. On a party-line vote, it lost.

Cruz asserted on the Senate floor that the 87,000 additional IRS agents are not what the citizens of any of our states want. They won’t be employed to examine multibillionaires or massive organisations. They’re being made to examine you.

Cruz stated that he preferred the IRS be abolished.

Cruz said that the IRS shouldn’t be any bigger than the Pentagon, the State Department, the FBI, or the Border Patrol altogether. “The Democrats are putting forward that here. It is an awful concept.

An amendment by Sen. Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, that would have prevented the IRS from utilising the $80 billion in extra cash to audit people making less than $400,000 a year failed.

At the same time, Senate Democrats and Vice President Joe Biden argued that their legislation wouldn’t affect people making less than $400,000 annually.

However, the independent Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that taxes for Americans earning less than $200,000 in 2023 would rise by up to $16.7 billion, while taxes for those earning between $200,000 and $500,000 would rise by up to $14.1 billion.

According to a Heritage Foundation analysis, over the next ten years, the plan would result in a $4,500 tax increase for the typical American household. (The Daily Signal is The Heritage Foundation’s news source.)

A proposal by Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, to lower the 15 per cent corporation minimum tax on private equity firms was approved by the Senate by a vote of 57-43.

Environment and Energy

The law will place restrictions on the sales of oil and natural gas leases on federal lands. The Bureau of Land Management would have been obliged to hold oil and gas lease sales in each state where the sales were held in June under a proposal made by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. The proposal was unsuccessful.

The Wyoming lawmaker argued that instead of pleading with autocrats in other nations to boost oil and gas output, the United States should enhance its own.

Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, suggested enabling oil and gas lease sales between the Cook Inlet of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. On a party-line vote, it was likewise defeated.

The Interior Department must complete all ongoing coal leasing procedures that were put on hold at the Bureau of Land Management, according to an amendment proposed by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. It was also defeated.

Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, R-West Virginia, proposed adding $45 million in fresh funds for the EPA’s enforcement actions, but her amendment was rejected.

By using the Senate’s reconciliation process, which requires only a simple majority of 51 votes rather than the normal 60, Democrats hastened the passage of the law.

The Senate parliamentarian must find that the provisions relate to spending, not policy, for this to happen.

Democrats, however, relaxed that restriction for a few modifications, making 60 votes necessary instead of 51. As a result, some Democratic senators from competitive states were able to join Republicans in voting without running the danger of amending the entire package with a widely supported amendment.


An amendment proposed by Cruz that would forbid the sale of American oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China received support from both parties. Despite receiving support from both parties, the Cruz amendment was unable to gain the required 60 votes to pass.

Additionally, a few Democrats supported Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) unsuccessful amendment to remove the tax on both domestically produced and imported oil.

Democratic Senators Mark Kelly of Arizona, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Raphael Warnock of Georgia, and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire were able to support Graham’s legislation thanks to this procedural modification. Together with them, Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia supported the Cruz amendment to stop oil sales to China.

Border Control and Title 42

Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, proposed an amendment to Title 42’s COVID-19 pandemic policy that would block asylum requests at the southern border.

The Title 42 rule, which forbids asylum requests in the event of a national health emergency, has been challenged by the Biden administration.

The COVID-19 public health emergency was declared over by the Lankford amendment, which gave the CDC 120 days to continue enforcing Title 42. That too received a 50/50 defeat.

On the Senate floor, Lankford said that it was absurd to claim that there was a COVID health emergency anywhere but at the southern border.

“Title 42 must stay in effect if there is a public health emergency in this nation. Our Border Patrol agents’ final line of defence in the fight to defend our country is Title 42.

Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat from Montana, put forth his own amendment to Title 42 after Lankford’s Title 42 amendment was rejected; it would have reduced the deadline from 120 to 60 days.

Democrats Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Warnock, Hassan, Cortez Masto, and Kelly voted in favour of the Tester amendment, as did Republicans. However, it fell short of the required 60 votes to be added to the law with only 56 votes.

Sensing A Bipartisan “Bern”

Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, two nominal independents who caucus with Democrats, and the other 48 Democratic senators resisted GOP demands.

However, there was a semblance of bipartisanship there, as practically every senator from both parties of the aisle opposed Sanders’ proposals.

Sanders claimed that the legislation’s taxing and spending provisions were insufficient.

The Vermonter started the discussion by stating that most projections indicate that the “so-called Inflation Reduction Act” “would have a limited influence on inflation.”

Sanders’ proposed amendment to allocate $30 billion more for climate programmes like a Civilian Climate Corps was rejected by senators by a vote of 98 to 1.

A Sanders amendment that would have prevented Medicare from paying more for prescription drugs than the Department of Veterans Affairs was defeated 99-1 by lawmakers, and a provision that would have allowed Medicare to cover hearing, dental, and vision benefits was defeated 97-3. Warnock and Ossoff sided with Sanders on the latter.

Sanders asserted, “This is the wealthiest nation on earth,” in support of a different proposal that would increase corporate taxes to fund new tax credit. We shouldn’t have the largest percentage of underprivileged children in any nation.

Democratic senators started to become irritated at that time. Sanders was supported in principle by Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who added, “I beg my colleagues to vote ‘no’ because this will bring the bill down.”

“Why would passing this amendment, or receiving 48 votes on this amendment, bring the total measure down?” Sanders retorted.

We realise that this arrangement is delicate, but we must pass it, Brown retorted.

We could lose the core law, said Democratic senator from Colorado Michael Bennet.

By a vote of 99 to 1, the Sanders child tax credit amendment was defeated.

Prescription Drugs During Pregnancy

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., put forth a bill that would limit the recipients of assistance from government pregnancy programmes to biological women.

“The only thing I’m trying to do is make sure that our federal laws reflect the fact that every pregnancy that has ever occurred has been in a biological female and that our pregnancy programmes are only open to biological females, who are the only people who can become pregnant. The Florida congressman remarked, “It’s easy.

The idea was made in response to calls from the LGBTQ movement for some federal agencies to stop using the term “pregnant people.” On a 50-50 vote, the Rubio proposal was defeated.

A clause in the proposed legislation permits Medicare to haggle over the price of prescription medications. Critics claim that will result in price-fixing and a shortage of essential medications.

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Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., put forth a change to keep pharmaceuticals with the Food and Drug Administration’s “breakthrough” designation out of the Medicare price-negotiation process. It lost the battle.

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