The Inflation Reduction Act bill, a.k.a. the Reader’s Digest Condensed BBB bill, passed in the Senate, people. Fifty Dems voted yes, fifty Republicans voted no, and Kamala Harris broke the tie. Woo HOO!
Now it goes to the House, which had better not screw it up.
The next question is, what is still in this bill? One provision that got chopped at the last minute was a $35 price cap on insulin. The cap will still apply to Medicare, but that’s all. As I understand it, the Senate parliamentarian had flagged some parts of the cap as being in non-compliance with reconciliation, and the Republicans used that to take it out..
And that sounds like an issue that could be used against all Republican senators running for re-election.
As described in the last post, the bill isn’t all we could have hoped for regarding prescription drugs.
The prescription drug pricing reforms aim to help cut costs for seniors enrolled in Medicare. It caps their out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 annually, while allowing the U.S. government to negotiate the price of a small set of medicines beginning in 2026. The landmark proposal is expected to save elderly Americans money and achieve billions in savings for Washington over the next decade. Pharmaceutical giants, which forcefully opposed the bill, also would be required to pay “rebates” to the federal government if they raise Medicare drug prices beyond the rate of inflation.
We still would get $369 billion for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and investing in renewable energy sources. It renews current subsidies in the Affordable Care Act, which were about to expire. It also dedicates some money for staffing up the IRS, a provision that really has Republican panties in a twist.
To get Joe Manchin’s support,
Democrats agreed to mandate new oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska, while party leaders committed to pursue a separate bill in the coming months that makes it easier for developers to override some environmental objections. That proposal could greatly benefit a long-stalled pipeline in Manchin’s home state, a trade-off that some Democrats described as an uncomfortable necessity.
And to mollify Kyrsten Sinema, they had to dial back proposed tax increases on wealthy investors. Sinema is up for re-election in 2024; I trust we can get rid of her then. We’re stuck with Manchin until 2026.