Joe Biden’s climate and health plan passed by Congress

With their slim majority, Democrats in the House of Representatives on Friday, August 12, allowed the final adoption of Joe Biden’s vast investment plan on climate and health, following a similar vote in the Senate a year ago. A few days.

The text, which should put the country on the right path to achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets, will be signed into law by the US president next week.

“Today the American people won”wrote Joe Biden on his Twitter account. With this law, “Families will see lower prices for drugs, health care, and energy costs. »

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Welcomed by the majority of associations fighting against climate change, this reform of more than 430 billion dollars (420 billion euros), includes 370 billion dollars dedicated to the environment, and 64 billion dollars for health.

Reduce the public deficit

Dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act, the plan aims at the same time to reduce the public deficit with a new minimum tax of 15% for all companies whose profits exceed one billion dollars.

“Today is a day of celebration”, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said just before the vote. This law will allow American families “to prosper, and our planet to survive. »

The Republican camp, for its part, accuses the text of generating unnecessary public expenditure, and castigates the use of the American tax authorities to finance them. Former President Donald Trump called on his Truth Social social network for all Republicans to speak out against it.

Coming to power with huge reform projects, Joe Biden originally pleaded for an even larger investment plan. But the elected Democrats have gradually had to revise their ambitions downwards, in order to satisfy in particular Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a state known for its coal mines. His support was essential to pass the stage of the Senate.

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“Source of Hope”

The text remains despite everything the largest investment ever made in the United States for the climate. It must make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. The goal set by Joe Biden is a reduction of at least 50% by this date, but other measures, in particular regulatory could partly fill the gap, according to experts.

“This law is a game-changer and a source of hope”, greeted Johanna Chao Kreilick, president of the Union of concerned scientists. The measures taken go “encourage other countries to step up their commitments”welcomed Friday Dan Lashof, director of the organization World resources institute in the United States.

“By creating strong incentives to invest in solar and wind energy, [le texte] will virtually dry up the market for coal-fired electricity over the next decade”he had summarized this week.

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Under this reform, an American will receive up 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%. Investments are also planned for the development of CO capture2the resilience of forests to fires, or the renovation of housing for the most modest households.

Several billion dollars in tax credits will also be offered to the most polluting industries to help them in their energy transition – a measure strongly criticized by the left wing of the party, which despite everything had to line up behind this text.

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Cheaper drugs

The second part of this major investment plan intends in part to correct the huge inequalities in access to care in the United States, in particular by lowering the price of drugs.

Medicare, a public health insurance system intended among others for those over 65, will for the first time be able to negotiate the prices of certain drugs directly with pharmaceutical companies, and thus obtain more competitive rates. Seniors will also be guaranteed not to have to pay more than $2,000 a year for their medication, starting in 2025.

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The bill also plans to extend the protections of the “Affordable care act”, the emblematic health insurance better known as“ObamaCare”which contained measures to facilitate access to health insurance through subsidies helping families to pay for their medical coverage.

la/dax

The World with AFP

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