Dems' climate, energy, tax bill clears initial Senate hurdle
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats started pushing their election-year economic bill through the Senate on Saturday, starting the sprawling collection of President Joe Biden’s priorities on climate, energy, health and taxes on a pathway through Congress that the party hopes will end in victory by the end of this week.
In a preview of the sharply partisan votes that are expected on a mountain of amendments, the evenly divided Senate voted to begin debate on the legislation 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie and overcoming unanimous Republican opposition. The package, a dwindled version of earlier multitrillion-dollar measures that Democrats failed to advance, has become a partisan battleground over inflation, gasoline prices and other issues that polls show are driving voters.
The House, where Democrats have a slender majority, could give the legislation final approval next Friday when that chamber plans to briefly return to Washington from summer recess.
“The time is now to move forward with a big, bold package for the American people,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “This historic bill will reduce inflation, lower costs, fight climate change. It’s time to move this nation forward.”
Republicans said the measure would damage the economy and make it harder for people to cope with sky-high inflation. They said the bill’s business taxes would hurt job creation and force prices upward and urged voters to remember that in November.