Senate Set To Begin Votes On Climate And Health Care Bill

4 days ago
AMERICA NEWS NOW

WASHINGTON ― The Senate is expected to kick off a marathon session of votes on Democrats’ major climate and health care legislation on Saturday, a grueling process required to pass the bill under a simple majority.

The bill ― which Democrats are calling the Inflation Reduction Act ― would give President Joe Biden and his party another major legislative victory ahead of November’s midterm elections. It would make historic investments in clean energy, significantly reducing the nation’s output of greenhouse gases, while taking several steps to make medical care more affordable, especially when it comes to the prices of prescription drugs.

Democrats received mostly favorable news overnight from the Senate parliamentarian, the chamber’s rules arbiter, on what provisions can remain in the bill under the so-called reconciliation process.

The parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, OK’d the clean energy investments and most of the key health care reforms in the bill. But she issued a mixed verdict on proposed “inflation caps” that would penalize drugmakers for raising prices of medications more quickly than the prices of other goods, according to Senate Democratic leaders.

Democrats have wanted to apply the caps to drugs purchased by private insurance as well as Medicare. But the parliamentarian said the private caps would violate requirements that policy changes must directly and significantly affect the federal budget.

There’s no problem with applying the inflation caps to Medicare, the parliamentarian ruled.

The clearest impact of losing the private caps would be on the bill’s math. The Congressional Budget Office expected the private caps to generate $38 billion in revenue over 10...

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