A year and a half after President Joe Biden took office, the Senate passed a multi-billion dollar Climate and Social Package. The package, which provides about $370 billion (about 363 billion euros) for energy security and climate protection and $64 billion for healthcare, was passed on Sunday. The approval is a major achievement for Biden, who has so far failed to implement the major reforms he has promised.
A vote on the reform package, which Biden says will bring “pioneering changes to working families,” was made possible because Democrats surprisingly reached an internal party agreement at the end of July. Conservative Senator Joe Manchin has dropped his opposition to a significantly reduced version of last year’s reform package.
Democratic Senator Kirsten Senema, who blocked the deal with Manchin last year, announced her support for the new law a few days ago. This was very important, because the Democrats could not stand a single opposition due to the small majority in the Senate. “The road is long, hard and winding,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said shortly before the vote.
After Senate approval, the bill returns to the House of Representatives next week, where Democrats have a slim majority. A few months before the November midterm elections, passing the bill, even in its watered down version, would be a huge success for the president and his party.
Republicans are also highly critical of the new package. “We will do what we can to prevent this legislation from happening,” Republican Senator John Thune said Friday. But Republicans’ options are limited as long as there are no dissidents within the Democrats. However, Republicans could try to lengthen the process with modifications. (apa/afp)
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