The Washington Post reports, Biden signs sweeping bill to tackle climate change, lower health-care costs:
President Biden on Tuesday signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, an ambitious measure that aims to tamp down on inflation, lower prescription drug prices, tackle climate change, reduce the deficit and impose a minimum tax on profits of the largest corporations.
At a bill signing ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House, Biden praised the legislation as among the most significant measures in the history of the country.
“Let me say from the start: With this law, the American people won and the special interests lost,” Biden said.
His administration had begun amid “a dark time in America,” Biden added, citing the coronavirus pandemic, joblessness and threats to democracy.
“And yet we’ve not wavered, we’ve not flinched and we’ve not given in,” Biden said. “Instead, we’re delivering results for the American people. We didn’t tear down. We built up. We didn’t look back. We look forward. And today — today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright, and the promise of America is real.”
The House passed the bill Friday in a 220-207 vote, days after the Senate narrowly passed it on a party-line vote, with Vice President Harris serving as the tiebreaker. The bill’s passage marked one of the most successful legislative efforts by congressional Democrats this session, ahead of contentious midterm elections — and also one that seemed increasingly unlikely for about a year and a half.
[On] Tuesday, Biden said signing the bill into law was something he had looked forward to doing for 18 months. At one point, he glanced at Manchin and quipped, “Joe, I never had a doubt,” to some laughter. After Biden inked his signature — and Schumer proclaimed, “It’s now law!” — the president handed the pen he used to Manchin and shook his hand.
On Tuesday, Schumer personally thanked Manchin “for working hard to get this done,” and credited Biden and the Democratic caucus for their persistence. The president, Schumer added, knew precisely when to step in and when to let negotiations play out.
This is a BFD. https://t.co/L0sh8ULo4T
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 16, 2022
“I am confident this bill will endure as one of the greatest legislative feats in decades: it will lower costs, create millions of good-paying jobs, and is the boldest climate bill ever,” Schumer said. “Now in normal times, getting these bills done would be a huge achievement, but to do it now, with only 50 Democratic votes in the Senate, over an intransigent Republican minority, is nothing short of amazing.”
[A]ccording to the White House, Biden will in the coming weeks hold a Cabinet meeting focused on implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as travel across the country to promote the ways the new law is expected to help Americans. The White House is also planning an event Sept. 6 to celebrate the bill’s enactment.
The Inflation Reduction Act would put about $370 billion into combating climate change and bolstering U.S. energy production, using incentives for private companies to produce more renewable energy and for households to transform their energy use and consumption.
The bill would also allow Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs and extend health insurance subsidies for millions of Americans.
To pay for the spending, the bill would raise hundreds of billions in revenue through new tax provisions — the biggest of which will fall on the country’s large corporations. It would also give the badly underfunded Internal Revenue Service its biggest budget increase in its history[.]
As White House officials have repeatedly said over the last week, Biden emphasized again Tuesday that no one making under $400,000 a year would pay “a penny more” in taxes. He also made an implicit pitch for Democrats in November’s midterm elections, noting that no Republicans had voted for the Inflation Reduction Act.
“Let’s be clear: In this historic moment, Democrats sided with the American people and every single Republican in the Congress sided with the special interests,” Biden said. “Every single Republican in Congress voted against lowering prescription drug prices, against lowering health-care costs, against the fair tax system. Every single Republican, every single one, voted against tackling the climate crisis, against lowering our energy costs, against creating good-paying jobs.
“My fellow Americans, that’s the choice we face,” he added. “We can protect the already powerful or show the courage to build a future where everybody has an even shot.”
STATE FACT SHEETS: How the Inflation Reduction Act Lowers Energy Costs, Creates Jobs, and Tackles Climate Change Across America
Politico adds, Biden suddenly is piling up wins. Can Dems make it stick?:
Joe Biden has never had a more productive stretch of his presidency, with wins stacking atop wins at a most opportune time.
But just as the president is hitting his stride, culminating later this week with a major tax, health care and climate change bill, he’s preparing to set off for a long-planned and weeks-long family vacation. The timing of Biden’s downtime — after a bout with the coronavirus that rebounded and prolonged his isolation in Washington — has increased questions about whether the president will begin to reap political benefits of the successes.
White House aides say they aren’t sweating the interlude. But officials and party leaders are scrambling to try and capitalize with what is being described as a mammoth outreach effort coming well before the midterms. Several groups and party committees are lining up to begin amplifying popular aspects of the bill, with the Democratic National Committee soon launching paid TV and digital ads as well as new rounds of spots to run with Black, Latino, and Asian American and Pacific Islander outlets, officials told POLITICO. Separately, Biden-allied Building Back Together is planning to dramatically ramp up its spending on TV, digital and radio once the president signs the legislation.
Already the victories have enlivened beleaguered supporters and injected new optimism across the West Wing. Aides describe a burst of energy in the executive mansion, which had spent months battling in vain to accomplish its agenda, a struggle that stretched so long that many staffers came to believe the wins would never materialize.
Now, they are plotting how to keep Biden in the spotlight — at least intermittently — while he’s away on holiday before he begins the fall campaign in earnest. Alterations are being made to those vacation plans.
Biden chose to stay at the White House Tuesday to sign a bill subsidizing the semiconductor industry and bolstering U.S. competition with China. He’ll sign a bill on veterans’ health before leaving town on Wednesday.
FACT SHEET: CHIPS and Science Act Will Lower Costs, Create Jobs, Strengthen Supply Chains, and Counter China
His aides tentatively plan to hold another signing event between two vacation stops: Kiawah Island in South Carolina and in Rehoboth Beach, Del. That ceremony, the timing of which remains influx, would hail passage of the climate and health care bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, through both chambers of Congress and would provide a ready-made moment for autumn campaign ads.
One aide, who was provided anonymity to speak candidly, gloated at the recent change in fate, even re-appropriating the common MAGA euphemism for “F— Joe Biden” in a similar way that Biden’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, turned the tea party’s derisive Obamacare slur into a liberal campaign slogan.
“We kept hearing ‘Let’s go Brandon,’” the White House aide said, “so we did.”
The White House is planning to use the August congressional recess to help drive its political entities in support of frontline House members, as well as by deploying Cabinet members across the country. This week, for example, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is in Detroit on Tuesday to talk up the prescription drug relief in the new bill. On Thursday, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo visits New Hampshire for the semiconductor legislation and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg hits the West Coast to plug the infrastructure bill passed last fall.
Democrats at the state level are zeroing in on key components of the health and climate bill. They plan to use the next month to hold events calling out Republicans out for voting against capping the cost of insulin and highlighting how the IRA would lower drug prices. Ahead of the Aug. 14 anniversary of Social Security, state parties in battlegrounds like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona will hold separate events to contrast Republican statements about sunsetting the programs with the bill’s impacts on seniors.
After twelve months in which its victories were dwarfed by its defeats, Biden and his staff suddenly find themselves with a host of successes to talk about, from the reconciliation bill, to the China competitiveness bill, from legislation to give health benefits to veterans harmed by toxic burn pits to a robust jobs market. The question is, will what they say matter politically?
“I love that this happened. I hate that it happened in summer vacation cause it’s hard for people to connect all these dots,” said a Democratic strategist who requested anonymity to speak freely. They pointed to the party’s struggles to take advantage of past legislative successes, but allowed that the latest bill “does create more of an opportunity.”
“There are a few things we ought to package up,” the strategist added.
While there remains some fear that Biden’s standing in polls may not budge much because of persistently high inflation and the sour national mood, there’s also a growing sense across the party that the health and climate bill could help turn out young people and other first-time Biden voters in 2020 by going directly to what was inhibiting participation, namely disappointment over the lack of action on Capitol Hill. As one senior party official put it: “It helps to have the positive case to go with the negative case Democrats are making against Republicans.”
“The Democratic Party has proven itself to have the ability to produce significant outcomes … contrasted with a Republican Party that’s gone full MAGA extreme and is really arguing for a world in which the fundamental freedoms Americans enjoy are on the chopping block,” said John Podesta, who served in both the Obama and Clinton administrations and was a major advocate for the climate components of the reconciliation bill.
“It’s true that there is only so much presidents can do in a midterms,” Podesta added. “But [Biden] could frame the choice and I think he needs to do that at the presidential level.”
Democrats say the landscape is fundamentally shifting from most past midterms, and that they’re already seeing benefits of the contrast Podesta outlined. Public polling in recent weeks has shown some of their Senate candidates opening up leads in races that could determine control of the upper chamber. And even generic congressional ballots, which have favored Republicans for months, have started tilting in favor of Democrats. But experts believe the gap would still have to grow considerably for them to keep the House because of partisan gerrymandering. And some worry that the calendar may be too tight for the election currents to shift so dramatically to break precedent.
[M]any in Biden world ruefully admit that the recent win streak has come when the president himself has been largely offstage, sidelined with COVID. But they point to Biden playing a larger-than-known, behind-the-scenes role, publicly deferring to the Senate but also working the phones over the weekend to help carry the reconciliation deal over the finish line.
Aides believe that they will, even if not right away, reap the benefits of a robust legislative agenda, one they argue measures up to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson all while being accomplished with a far smaller congressional majority. Moreover, they contend the GOP this summer – with its support of the overturning abortion rights and opposition to popular legislation – has proven itself out of step and will suffer even on issues tied to the uneven economy.
“I think it’s going to be who supports or opposes tax cuts for corporations versus tax cuts for people; who supports or opposes a bill and voted for it to help with the cost of prescription drugs for American families and who opposed it,” said Joel Benenson, a Democratic strategist and former Obama pollster.
“But the most important thing is to continue to talk about this not in Washingtonese, not talk about the accomplishments where you just tick off the names of the bills,” he added. “On every one of these things you have to tell people what you just did for them and their families. You can’t make it a doctoral thesis.”
Joe Biden needs to get his own meme. The White House Communictions Office needs to work on this.