In a goal Democrats have been chasing for decades, the legislation will for the first time give Medicare the power to negotiate the cost of a limited basket of prescription drugs, thereby bringing down costs. In extending Affordable Care Act subsidies, it could save health care coverage for countless people. And in spending nearly $370 billion to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change, it goes most of the way to reaching Biden’s ambitious plans to create a clean energy economy. The bill could also help revive US global leadership in the quest to save the planet by prodding other nations to follow suit.
The victory is all the more remarkable since it was achieved against vehement GOP opposition in the 50-50 Senate, where Democrats had no room for error. Democrats spent months negotiating with themselves, as moderate senators like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema extracted concessions that progressives had little choice but to accept to save the bill. Coal state senator Manchin revived the measure after reversing his opposition late last month and agreeing to a clean energy push in return for concessions on fossil fuels.
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