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Biden signs Inflation Reduction Act into law

<i>Karen Ducey/Getty Images</i><br/>On August 16
Getty Images
Karen Ducey/Getty Images
On August 16

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN

President Joe Biden signed a sweeping $750 billion health care, tax and climate bill into law at the White House on Tuesday — marking a major victory for his administration and the Democratic Party ahead of the midterm elections.

Biden said during a signing ceremony in the State Dining Room that the legislation, called the Inflation Reduction Act, is “one of the most significant laws in our history.”

“With this law, the American people won and the special interests lost,” Biden told an audience of Democratic members of Congress and members of the administration. “For a while people doubted whether any of that was going to happen, but we are in a season of substance.”

A series of events focused on the roll out of the new law are expected to take place in the coming weeks. The White House says Biden will soon host a Cabinet meeting focused on the law’s implementation, travel around the country to highlight the bill’s impact on Americans and take part in a post-Labor Day White House celebration focused on the enactment of the bill.

The bill signing is the latest celebration of a major legislative accomplishment for Biden this summer, having already held bill signings at the White House last week for a bill aimed at increasing domestic semiconductor production and increasing benefits for veterans affected by toxic burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq. Biden has also chalked up wins on several other fronts in the last few months, including a bipartisan gun reform bill, ordering the successful mission to kill al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, sending billions in aid to Ukraine to help that nation defend itself against Russia’s invasion and helping Finland and Sweden begin the process of joining NATO.

The act accomplishes several key Biden legislative agenda items, representing the largest climate investment in American history and making major changes to health policy by giving Medicare the power for the first time to negotiate the prices of certain prescription drugs and extending expiring health care subsidies for three years. The legislation will reduce the deficit, be paid for through new taxes — including a 15% minimum tax on large corporations and a 1% tax on stock buybacks — and boost the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to collect.

It will raise over $700 billion in government revenue over 10 years and spend over $430 billion to reduce carbon emissions and extend subsidies for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and use the rest of the new revenue to reduce the deficit.

Senate Democrats had long hoped to pass a signature legislative package that would incorporate major agenda items for the party, but struggled for months to reach a deal that gained full support of their caucus.

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin — a major holdout throughout much of Biden’s term in office — played a key role in the legislation, agreeing to a deal that was announced at the end of last month. Schumer and Manchin attended Tuesday’s signing ceremony at the White House.

The bill passed in the Senate earlier this month after 16 hours of amendment votes — known as a vote-a-rama — and the House of Representatives approved the bill along party lines this past Friday.

The bill Biden signed on Tuesday does not include several provisions that had been previously proposed as part of the President’s plan, including paid family and sick leave, universal pre-kindergarten, an extension of the enhanced child tax credit, as well as provisions to lower the cost of college.

The key legislative victory comes as the White House plans a major speech for Biden after Labor Day, which is being billed as a hard-hitting kick off for midterm campaigning.

Aides are preparing a speech in which the President will tout tangible, long-talked-about wins like lowering prescription drug costs and gun restrictions while hammering Republicans for being extremists who are in the pocket of special interests.

Democrats are fighting to maintain their narrow majorities in Congress. And it’s not entirely clear whether voters perceptions about the President or his party will improve in the fall following a summer of dismal polling.

A CNN poll released in late July, for example, found that 75% of Democratic voters want their party to nominate someone other than Biden to the presidency in 2024.

Now, the White House is aiming to make the most of a string of wins — including the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act — as part of a rush to reset his image ahead of the November elections.

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CNN’s Donald Judd, Alex Rogers, Clare Foran, Ali Zaslav, Manu Raju and Edward-Isaac Dovere contributed to this report.

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