In a relatively rare opportunity to personally advance the Biden administration’s objectives, Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday stepped forward to cast the tie-breaking vote that facilitated the Senate’s eventual party-line passage of the so-called Inflation Reduction Act backed by the president, as The Hill reports.
The procedural vote cast by Harris set the stage for several more hours of debate and a series of votes on various amendments, commonly referred to as a vote-a-rama, and in the end, the upper chamber approved the massive spending bill on Sunday, again, with the vice president’s support.
Touting the supposed benefits of the legislation was Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), who told Fox News Digital, “I mean, it’s the largest package ever for climate, it deals with an energy policy to make sense for this country, reduces the cost of energy, reduces health care costs for millions of Americans, and does it in a way that reduces the deficit and has tax fairness in our code. It’s a great day, and we’re very excited about it.”
Not everyone is as enthusiastic about the package, however, particularly given that it devotes $369 billion out of its total $740 billion in spending to climate change initiatives and also dedicates massive sums to heightened IRS enforcement, which many believe will target middle-class Americans and small businesses.
Republican opponents of the measures were quick to point out their fears about how the bill will actually impact the citizenry, with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel predicting that “Democrats will pay the price in November for raising taxes on families during a recession,” as Fox News noted separately.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) added his voice to those dissatisfied with the outcome, calling the measure a “give-away to the Democrats’ radical leftist base at the expense of middle-class Americans.”
Cruz added his belief that the bill will “drive up inflation and prices, hammer small businesses and American manufacturing, increase the price of gas and sic the IRS on Americans, all while raising taxes on Americans in nearly every tax bracket, including those who make less than $400,000 a year,” referencing President Joe Biden’s pledge that such an increase would not occur on his watch.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) – with characteristic bluntness – declared, “It’s a special kind of stupid to raise taxes during both a recession and inflation – that’s called stagflation, which is what we have right now as a result of President Biden’s policies.”
Nevertheless, Democrats are celebrating a victory for the president and his agenda that for a long time seemed out of reach, and according to House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the house is set to take up the bill on Friday, where — to the frustration of millions — it stands a strong chance of final passage.