The US Capitol in Washington is pictured on Friday. File/AP
After a marathon, 27-hour weekend session of debate and Republican efforts to derail the package, the Senate approved the legislation known as the Inflation Reduction Act by a 51-50 party line vote Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking ballot.
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The action sends the measure to the House of Representatives for a vote, likely Friday when representatives plan to reconvene briefly during a summer recess. They are expected to pass it, which would then send the bill to the White House for Biden's signature. In a statement, Biden said he looked forward to signing the bill into law.
"The Senate is making history," an elated Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, after pumping his fists in the air as Democrats cheered and their staff members responded to the vote with a standing ovation.
Kamala Harris speaks to reporters after passage of the Inflation Reduction Act at the US Capitol on Sunday. AFP
"To Americans who’ve lost faith that Congress can do big things, this bill is for you," he said. "This bill is going to change America for decades."
Schumer said the legislation contains "the boldest clean energy package in American history" to fight climate change while reducing consumer costs for energy and some medicines.
Democrats have drawn harsh attacks from Republicans over the legislation's $430 billion in new spending and roughly $740 billion in new revenue.
Nevertheless, Democrats hope its passage will help the party's House and Senate candidates in the Nov. 8 midterm elections at a time when Biden is suffering from anemic public approval ratings amid high inflation.
The legislation is aimed at reducing carbon emissions and shifting consumers to green energy, while cutting prescription drug costs for the elderly and tightening enforcement on taxes for corporations and the wealthy.
US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks to the media in Washington, DC, on Sunday. Reuters
Because the measure pays for itself and reduces the federal deficit over time, Democrats contend that it will help bring down inflation, an economic liability that has also weighed on their hopes of retaining legislative control in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election.
Republicans, arguing that the bill will not address inflation, have denounced the measure as a job-killing, left-wing spending wish list that could undermine growth when the economy is in danger of falling into recession.
Democrats approved the bill by using a parliamentary maneuver called reconciliation, which allows budget-related legislation to avoid the 100-seat chamber's 60-vote threshold for most bills and pass on a simple majority.
After several hours of debate, the Senate began a rapid-fire "vote-a-rama" on Democratic and Republican amendments on Saturday evening that stretched into Sunday afternoon.
Democrats repelled more than 30 Republican amendments, points of order and motions, all intended to scupper the legislation. Any change in the bill's contents wrought by an amendment could have unraveled the Democrats' 50-senator coalition needed to keep the legislation on track.
The both parties came together as Republican senators joining Democrats to make its final passage in the upper chamber appear nearly certain. The action soon stalled out as opponents tried to slow the rush to approve one of President Joe Biden’s top priorities.
The final bill includes $400 billion in one-time payments of $1,400 to most Americans, $300 a week in extended jobless benefits for the 9.5 million people thrown out of work in the crisis.
Biden’s first day is expected to be packed, with aides saying recently he would sign perhaps a dozen executive orders that could address the pandemic, the ailing US economy, climate change and racial injustice in America.
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ADP also warned against the renewed methods of scammers and fraudsters to lure victims after obtaining information related to their bank accounts and reusing that data again, to withdraw funds from their bank accounts.