The U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act by a single vote on Sunday, August 7.
The bill, headed to the House of Representatives within days, includes by far the largest and most consequential measures to reduce domestic climate pollution in the nation’s history, with a $386 billion clean energy investment, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Based on analyses by several energy modeling groups, it would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by close to one-billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in the year 2030, significantly narrowing the gap between the U.S.’s current path and its Paris Climate Agreement commitment.
The bill took an almost biblical course from inception to what now appears to be likely passage by the House and signature by President Joe Biden. It overcame odds that just two weeks ago appeared likely to be fatal: Two separate apparent death blows by Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), before its prospects twice rising from the proverbial ashes.
The deal reached between Senator Manchin and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) largely survived intact after last minute negotiations with Senator Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), a “Byrd bath” scrubbing by the Senate Parliamentarian, and a marathon weekend “vote-a-rama” on the Senate floor.
According to various expert analyses, the Inflation Reduction Act would not only significantly curb greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., but also other fossil fuel air pollutants and their adverse health effects; reduce the federal deficit; create jobs; boost the economy; and lower average household energy bills. Republican senators rejected such assessments and voted in lockstep unanimity against efforts to pass the legislation, forcing Vice President Kamala Harris to break several 50-50 tie votes, including the final vote on passage, to ensure sending it to the House for an expected party-line vote later this week. [Continue reading…]