Monday, March 4, 2024
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Senate passes sweeping climate-focused inflation reduction bill

After more than a year of infighting, President Joe Biden’s climate agenda has cleared a major hurdle. On Sunday, Senate Democrats voted 51-50 to pass the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a decision along partisan lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie-breaking vote, reportedly ” Washington post”. If passed by the House, the 755-page bill would authorize the largest spending on climate change in U.S. history. All told, the legislation calls for spending $370 billion to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by about 40 percent by the end of the decade.

The climate change provisions most likely to affect consumers include a redesign of the federal electric vehicle tax credit. The Reducing Inflation Act would provide subsidies of up to $7,500 for electric SUVs, trucks and vans priced under $80,000, and cars under $55,000. It also allows people to claim up to $4,000 when buying a used electric car. In both cases, the income cap would prevent those earning above the average American from taking advantage of the legislation.

In addition to EV subsidies, the US government’s $370 billion investment bill will incentivize the construction of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources. The bill also calls for a $1.5 billion plan to pay companies that reduce methane production.

With Sunday’s vote, the Inflation Reduction Act now moves to the House of Representatives, which will return from Friday’s summer recess. For much of 2021 and the first half of 2022, President Biden’s “build back better” plan appears doomed to nowhere, due to opposition from Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. In late July, however, Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced they had reached a compromise.

In exchange for his support, the Reducing Inflation Act included a provision that the federal government would reinstate canceled oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico and Cook Inlet, Alaska . While the concession has rattled environmentalists, it is not expected to undermine the environmental benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill could reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by about 6.3 billion tons by 2032, according to an estimate by the Zero Lab at Princeton University.

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