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US Congress approves billions for climate and social affairs

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, and her fellow Democratic party members celebrate on Capitol Hill.  Photo:

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, and her fellow Democratic party members celebrate on Capitol Hill. photo

© Susan Walsh/AP/dpa

US President Biden’s plans already seemed to have failed. After all, he got a legislative package through Congress. It’s a win – but not as ambitious as in the beginning.

Success for US President Joe Biden: After a long dispute, Congress in Washington passed a package of laws to invest billions in climate protection and the social sector. After the Senate, the House of Representatives also approved the so-called Anti-inflation Act on Friday. In both houses of parliament, all votes in favor of the bill came from the Democrats of US President Joe Biden, while all votes against came from the ranks of Republicans.

After the vote, Biden announced he would sign the bill next week. He will also hold a “celebration in honor of this landmark legislation” at the White House on Sept. Biden previously spoke of the largest US investment to date to combat climate change.

Biden’s original plans for climate protection and social reform were among the core projects of his tenure. The current package is a compromise due to disputes within its party. It contains only a fraction of what the president once wanted to push through. Biden wrote on Twitter Friday night that the law required “a lot of compromises. That’s almost always the case when it comes to important matters.”

That the law has been passed at all is a remarkable victory for the president – until recently, that was hardly to be expected. Biden has long struggled with poor approval ratings. According to statistics from the website Fivethirtyeight, which brings together several studies, only a good 40 percent are satisfied with their work, more than 55 percent are not. His stats have improved a bit lately.

Biden’s Democrats threaten a heavy defeat in November: Republicans are expected to have a good chance of winning the majority in the House of Representatives in the congressional elections. Then Biden, who is already causing problems for the dissenters in his own party, will have even more trouble with bills.

After the law was passed, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock particularly appreciated the climate aspect. “Our chance of getting below the two-degree path at all has increased slightly today,” said the Green politician early Saturday morning in Berlin. “The largest climate investment program in US history will make a tangible contribution to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and implementing the Paris Climate Agreement.”

The so-called anti-inflation law that Congress has now passed is much broader than its name suggests. It includes the following aspects, among others:

climate protection

About 370 billion dollars (about 359 billion euros) will be invested in this area over the next ten years. The aim is to promote the production of solar cells and wind turbines. There are also financial incentives for the construction of factories for electric cars. Energy research should be promoted. The measures should lead to a reduction of CO2 emissions in the US of about 40 percent by 2030.

Cheaper medicines

For the first time, state health insurance for the elderly or disabled (Medicare) should be allowed to negotiate prices of certain expensive drugs directly with drug companies.

The Democrats expect savings of nearly $290 billion in ten years. By 2025, patients’ co-payments for drugs will be capped at $2,000 per year. In addition, health insurance premiums are expected to fall for millions of Americans.


The legislative package is intended to close fiscal loopholes. Companies with a profit of more than a billion dollars a year must pay a minimum of 15 percent tax in the future. This minimum tax should wash about $313 billion into the household coffers over the next ten years.

The IRS is expected to receive another $80 billion over the same period. This should allow the IRS to collect an additional $124 billion in taxes from the wealthy and highly profitable companies. According to the US government, families with household incomes less than $400,000 per year should not be affected.

deficit reduction

The US government estimates that the legislative package could reduce the state deficit by more than $300 billion. This should also slow inflation, which stood at 8.5 percent in July.


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