U.S. Capitol (275782)
U.S. Capitol Credit: Pixabay

“The yays are 50, the nays are 50,” noted Vice President Kamala Harris: “the Senate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative––and the bill, as amended, is passed!”

VP Harris cast the deciding vote for President Biden’s Build Back Better bill—which has now been retooled and renamed as the Inflation Reduction Act.

After more than a year of party infighting, the Democrats in the Senate passed Biden’s bill which is designed to fight inflation; lower prescription drug costs; create millions of good-paying union jobs; and push the nation toward using affordable clean energy. The bill has been sent to the House and should next make it to Biden’s desk for signature. 

Labor unions are generally welcoming the new $739 billion bill, because it is expected to help their membership. 

“This historic bill will cut energy costs, invest in new and emerging technologies, and tackle inflation head on—all while creating family-sustaining union jobs,” the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry (UA) said in celebration of the Senate’s passage.

“This bill will reshape the future and deliver real help to working families by reducing rising energy and health care costs,” assured AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “Enacting clean energy tax incentives with labor standards and domestic content requirements will create good-paying jobs in construction and manufacturing right here in America. And this legislation will address long overdue changes to our tax system that will finally make the most profitable corporations pay their fair share.”

“It could never have passed with a majority in the Senate and the White House if not for the hard-fought victories by the housekeepers, cooks, dishwashers, and other working people in the 2020 General Election—and the Georgia Senate runoffs,” UNITE HERE!, the hospitality industry union, pointed out in a statement. “Much ink has been spilled over the struggles to get fifty Senate Democrats to agree on the path forward for their agenda, but as we head into this fall’s election season, we need to make sure working people understand that ZERO Republicans supported these measures that will ease inflation and tackle some of the biggest issues facing our country at this moment. In fact, they all voted to deny caps on insulin prices so vital for the health of millions of Americans. This is the GOP—they put politics over the health of their constituents.”

“[T]he Senate took a monumental step in delivering for America’s working families, including the essential workers who make up the UFCW,” the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union President Marc Perrone stated. “Our hard-working members across the country have been calling for action on these issues since day one of the Biden administration and, finally, it’s on its way to being delivered.”

The BlueGreen Alliance—a coalition of labor unions and environmental organizations—declared: “The Inflation Reduction Act demonstrates that we don’t have to choose between good jobs and a clean environment, as some falsely claim. This legislation supports both. The bill does not include some critical investments, like support for dislocated energy workers and good-paying, union jobs in the care economy, which we will continue to fight for moving forward.“We applaud the work that has been done to assemble this bill and are ready to work with you to
get it over the finish line.”

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