As many as 3.1 million people won’t join the ranks of the uninsured because of the bill, while many millions more will see their premiums become more affordable. The bill is a foot in the door for something Democrats have wanted to achieve for years: allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. What it won’t do, because Republicans are a death cult and blocked it from happening, is to cap the cost of insulin for all diabetics at $35 a month. Medicare enrollees will get that insulin cost break.
American consumers will not just benefit from some health care cost cuts, but should see lower electric bills and plenty of incentives for lowering their bills in the future by investing in energy efficiency in their homes. The legislation provides a tax deduction up to 30% of the cost of upgrading to energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, and investing in solar panels and the battery storage systems that come with them. Rewiring America, a nonprofit advocacy group, estimates that could save households up to $1,800 a year.
It also continues the incentive for replacing fossil fuel-powered vehicles with electric, extending the current $7,500 tax credit for new vehicles and $4,000 for used. Those credits were being phased out under current law.
All of this could result in a 40% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions below the 2005 levels by 2030. That’s not enough to save the planet, yet, but it is the biggest investment the U.S. has ever made to combat the climate crisis, making it one of the biggest in the world.
Of course, all this didn’t come with out a very dirty deal for Manchin: The partially finished Mountain Valley Pipeline through West Virginia and Virginia, which has been fervently opposed by residents, has the promise of approval from the White House. Manchin secured a promise for a vote on separate legislation that would end further legal challenges to permits for the project. The deal with Manchin also would expedite approval for pipelines around the country.
Three guesses why Manchin insisted on this, and you only need one.
Natural gas pipeline companies have dramatically increased their contributions to Mr. Manchin, from just $20,000 in 2020 to more than $331,000 so far this election cycle, according to campaign finance disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission and tallied by the Center for Responsive Politics. Mr. Manchin has been by far Congress’s largest recipient of money from natural gas pipeline companies this cycle, raising three times as much from the industry than any other lawmaker.
Nonetheless, Democrats have reason to celebrate. The investment in climate change is unprecedented. It’s set to be considered in the House at the end of this week. The House Progressive Caucus will back it. “You have to acknowledge that this is a huge step forward and this is a huge progressive win,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told The New York Times. “And that’s not to say that everything is a progressive win.” Even the Sabotage Squad of conservative Democrats is likely to approve it since their co-conspirators in the Senate back it.
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