The bill would help more than triple the clean power production in the country.
Senate Democrats delivered a dramatic win for President Joe Biden’s effort to fight climate change on Sunday, passing a bill that will devote hundreds of billions of dollars to clean energy sources and speed the U.S. transition away from fossil fuels.
The Inflation Reduction Act, which had appeared to be dead just weeks ago and now heads to the House of Representatives, would accelerate U.S. emission cuts and put the country on a path to reduce greenhouse gases by 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, significantly narrowing the gap with the goal Biden set under the Paris climate agreement to cut that pollution by at least half by that date.
The bill that includes $369 billion in climate and energy provisions that will transform how Americans get their energy and shape the country’s climate and industrial policy for decades. And it represents an extraordinary turnaround from just months ago when the Biden administration pivoted from its climate priorities to press for increased oil and gas production to combat the energy crisis that sent energy prices skyrocketing.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer teed up the final vote, calling the legislation “the boldest climate package in U.S. history.”
“It will kick start the era of affordable clean energy in America. It’s a game changer, it’s a turning point, and it’s been a long time coming,” he said.
The climate portions of the bill were far lower than the $550 billion originally envisioned as part of a broad $2.2 trillion bill a year ago, but they still represent the biggest investment in clean energy sources in U.S. history — about four times as large as the incentives contained in President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The drop was due to inflation concerns from West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin, who only acquiesced to the bill after private negotiations with Schumer last month and the assurances from leading economists like former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers that it would not worsen the economic pain for Americans. And Manchin won the addition of language that linked measures to help boost oil and gas production to some of the clean energy incentives, irking environmental activists — but not enough for them to pull their support for the bill.