United States: the Senate adopts Joe Biden’s vast plan for climate and health

This is the outcome of 18 months of negotiations and a marathon night of debates. The US Senate adopted Joe Biden’s grand plan on climate and health on Sunday, August 7, offering a significant stage victory for the president, less than 100 days before crucial elections.

By their votes alone, the Democrats have approved this plan of more than 430 billion dollars of investments, which takes the road to the House of Representatives for a final vote next week, before being signed into law by Joe Biden.

Climate-friendly measures

This enormous envelope includes the largest investment ever made in the United States for the climate: 370 billion dollars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. With this reform, an American will thus receive up to to $7,500 in tax credits for the purchase of an electric car. The installation of solar panels on its roof will be covered at 30%.

This reform must also make it possible to strengthen the resilience of the forests in the face of the monster fires which are ravaging the American West and whose multiplication has been directly attributed to global warming.

Several billion dollars in tax credits will also be offered to the most polluting industries in order to assist them in their energy transition, a measure strongly criticized by the left wing of the party, which had to line up behind this text, for lack of reaching a more ambitious agreement after long months of negotiations.

And compromises on the social side

In the Senate, the Democrats enjoy a microscopic majority. All – including the very centrist Joe Manchin who, by his opposition to the text, has long prevented its adoption by his party – voted in favor of the plan. But this unity was achieved at the cost of compromise. Especially for the left wing of the party: if the text provides for 64 billion dollars of investment in health and the gradual reduction in the price of certain drugs, the progressives have notably given up on their ambitions of free kindergartens and public universities, as well as to better care for the elderly.

In parallel with these massive investments, the bill intends to reduce the public deficit with a new minimum tax of 15% for all companies whose profits exceed one billion dollars. It aims to prevent certain large companies from using the tax loopholes which have allowed them to pay far less than the theoretical rate. It is estimated that this measure could generate more than $258 billion in US federal revenue over the next 10 years.

The Republican opposition considers the Biden plan too expensive.

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