Washington, Aug 16 (EFE).- President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a key bill – the Inflation Reduction Act – which he called a “godsend” that will show “the American people that democracy still works, notwithstanding all the talk of its demise.”
The president also called the legislation “one of the most significant laws in (US) history,” with which he and Democratic legislators hope to strengthen their positions with voters with an eye toward the November mid-term elections.
Calling it the “final piece” of his long-stymied domestic agenda, Biden said that Democrats had voted in favor of reducing the deficit to combat inflation by making the wealthy and the big corporations pay a fairer share of taxes even as Republicans opposed demanding that big companies pay a minimum 15 percent on their profits.
The new law is one of Biden’s star projects and he intends to tour the country in the coming weeks to explain its advantages to the public, laying out how it is designed to reduce inflation amid precipitous price increases caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In addition, on Sept. 6 he will organize an event to hail the promulgation of the package on taxes, healthcare and the environment that was approved last Friday by Congress and includes numerous long-term investments.
Saying that the package is not just designed to alleviate problems today but also looks to the future, the president asserted that it is designed to try and bring progress and prosperity to American families and show that democracy still works.
The president appeared at the signing ceremony at the White House on Tuesday wearing a facemask and only removed it when he spoke, after first lady Jill Biden tested positive for the coronavirus just a few days after he himself overcame his own infection.
The law includes more than $400 billion in new investment, almost all of it focused on giving a push to the green energy sector and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
It will be the biggest public investment to fight climate change in US history, and its supporters estimate that it will enable the country to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 2005 levels between now and 2030.
Meanwhile, Frances Colon, a member of the White House Science and Technology Advisory Council, told EFE that the package is the “most ambitious” law regarding investing in the transition to a clean energy economy that confronts the problem of climate change.
The law seeks to create fairer tax rules to prevent, for example, a repetition of what occurred in 2020 when 55 of the largest and richest US corporations managed to pay no federal taxes on their profits.
Thus, there will now be a minimum 15 percent tax on companies making profits exceeding $1 billion while the Internal Revenue Service will also be strengthened to make it more difficult to evade taxes. Today, some $160 billion in unpaid taxes remains to be collected by the US government, according to the Biden administration’s calculations.
The law also seeks to put a sizable dent in inflation by reducing the amount people have to pay on healthcare, given that Americans pay between two and three times more than the citizens of other countries for prescription drugs.
Reportedly benefiting from the reduction in drug prices will be five to seven million people currently covered by Medicare, while the $2,000 annual cap on spending on prescription drugs will help some 1.4 million.
The law is very ambitious in environmental terms and is designed, among other things, to build a clean energy economy for 2030 that includes 950 million new solar panels and assorted other clean energy options.
It also seeks to reduce by some $500 per year the average household’s energy costs and to provide numerous incentives to homeowners to adopt clean energy technology for their homes and vehicles.