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Bullet policy · Aug 15, 2022

Congress Passes Landmark Climate Bill

Both chambers of Congress have now passed a sweeping climate, healthcare, and tax reform bill that would inject roughly $369 billion into programs to combat climate change and boost clean energy production.

Democrats estimate that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (H.R. 5376) would allow the U.S. to reduce emissions by roughly 40 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2030, while also shrinking the federal deficit by approximately $300 billion.

The bill includes incentives for renewable energy; $60 billion for environmental justice programs; support for climate research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; provisions for conservation, reforestation, and wildfire programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; funds to address a historic drought in the US; as well as millions to address the threat of invasive species and carry out endangered species recovery.

Notably, the bill would provide $2 billion over 5 years to support facilities construction and infrastructure upgrades at Department of Energy (DOE) national labs, of which roughly $1.5 billion would go to the DOE Office of Science. This is a much smaller allocation compared to the nearly $13 billion that was set aside for the DOE office in the original Build Back Better reconciliation package, which also included billions in funding for other research agencies.

In addition to the climate provisions, H.R. 5376 would allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, extend the expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies through 2025, and impose a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations.

The finalized legislation—touted as the biggest investment in clean energy and climate solutions in U.S. history—passed both the House and Senate along party-lines. Using the budget reconciliation process allowed Democrats to circumvent a Senate filibuster and pass the bill by a simple majority vote.

President Biden is expected to sign the bill into law this week.

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