(WTNH) – The U.S. Senate has now passed the Inflation Reduction Act. It happened on a strict party-line vote. The wide-ranging bill affects everything from the environment to drug costs to corporate taxes. The vote has Connecticut’s senators taking a victory lap.
“We have just wrapped up what will go down as one of the most productive summers in the United States Senate in generations,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)
In addition to reducing costs, the Inflation Reduction Act is also designed to help the environment with $369 billion in energy security and climate change programs. It’s something local leaders say Connecticut already knew.
“That by investing in clean energy and energy efficiency, and building out a clean energy economy, we grow jobs and save consumers money,” Commissioner Katie Dykes of the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.
The idea is to lower energy costs while reducing carbon emissions by 40% over the next 8 years, and there are incentives to get people to buy electric cars.
There are also changes in health care costs, including allowing Medicare to negotiate costs with drug makers.
“We can negotiate on behalf of consumers, instead of not negotiating for the benefit of big pharma,” said Connecticut AARP Director Nora Duncan.
It also includes changes in cost-sharing that will lower prices for things like the shingles vaccine.
Then there are the tax changes.
“For the first time, billionaire corporations are going to pay taxes of at least 15%,” explained U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “If a corporation makes a billion bucks, it’s got to pay 15%.”
Closing tax loopholes is expected to bring in more than $300 billion in revenue. Along with other more bipartisan laws that passed recently, Murphy says there is now a fundamental shift in power in Washington.
“All of a sudden, the gun industry, the drug industry, the oil industry, don’t have as much power as they used to, and all of a sudden regular people are in charge,” Murphy said.
Next, the Inflation Reduction Act goes to the House. Those members of Congress are expected to come back to Washington this Friday to start working on that.