By Maegan Vazquez and Donald Judd, CNN
President Joe Biden signed a sweeping $750 billion health care, tax and climate bill into law at the White House on Tuesday, marking a major victory for his administration and the Democratic Party ahead of the mid-elections. mandate.
Biden said during a signing ceremony in the State Dining Hall that the legislation, called the Inflation Reduction Act, is “one of the most important pieces of legislation in our history.”
“With this law, the American people won and special interests lost,” Biden told an audience of Democratic members of Congress and administration officials. “For a while people doubted this was all going to happen, but we’re in for a season of substance.”
The bill signing is the latest celebration of a major legislative achievement for Biden this summer, having already held bill signings at the White House last week for a bill to increase domestic production of semi -drivers and to increase benefits for veterans affected by toxic fires in Afghanistan and Iraq. Biden has also scored victories on several other fronts in recent months, including a bipartisan gun reform bill, ordering the successful mission to kill al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, sending billions in aid to Ukraine to help that nation defend against Russian invasion and to help Finland and Sweden begin the process of joining NATO.
And throughout Tuesday’s ceremony at the White House, the president underscored the significance of what he sees as his administration’s accomplishments – although he was struck off when past negotiations for his legislative agenda fell through. failed.
“Today, we too often confuse noise with substance. Too often we confuse setbacks with defeats. Too often we give the biggest microphones to critics and cynics who delight in declaring failure while those determined to make real progress do the hard work of governing,” the president told the audience. “Making progress in this country, as big and complicated as ours, clearly is not easy. It has never been easy. But with unwavering conviction, commitment and patience, progress happens.
The law accomplishes several key elements of Biden’s legislative agenda, representing the largest climate investment in American history and making major changes to health care policy by giving Medicare the power for the first time to negotiate prices of certain prescription drugs and extending expiring health care subsidies for three years. The legislation will reduce the deficit, be funded by new taxes – including a minimum 15% tax on large corporations and a 1% tax on stock buybacks – and strengthen the collection capacity of the Internal Revenue Service .
It will generate more than $700 billion in government revenue over 10 years and spend more than $430 billion to reduce carbon emissions and expand health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act and use the rest new revenue to reduce the deficit.
Biden, in his remarks, sharply criticized Congressional Republicans for voting against the bill, turning their opposition into a call to action at the polls.
He pointed out that “every Republican in Congress voted against this bill.”
“Every Republican in Congress has voted against lowering prescription drug prices, against lowering health care costs, against the fair tax system. Every Republican – everyone – voted against tackling the climate crisis, against cutting our energy costs, against creating well-paying jobs. My fellow Americans, this is the choice we face – we can protect those who are already powerful or show the courage to build a future where everyone has an equal chance,” he continued.
A series of events focused on rolling out the new law are expected to take place in the coming weeks. The White House said Biden would soon host a Cabinet meeting focused on implementing the law, travel across the country to highlight the bill’s impact on Americans, and participate in a White House celebration afterward. Labor Day focused on the enactment of the bill.
Senate Democrats had long hoped to pass a signature legislative package that would include key items on the party’s agenda, but struggled for months to reach a deal that won the full support of their caucus.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin — a major fixture for much of Biden’s tenure — played a key role in the legislation, agreeing to a deal that was announced late last month. Schumer and Manchin attended Tuesday’s signing ceremony at the White House.
Biden credited Schumer with passing the bill and as a token of thanks, handed Manchin his pen after he signed the bill.
Manchin then described the long and bumpy road to signing Tuesday’s bill into law, giving Biden “full credit” for allowing the process to take place on Capitol Hill.
“He knew enough, being a former senator. Sometimes you just have to let us do what we have to do, and I gave him all the credit, and you don’t do something of this magnitude with him – with the President of the United States – without involvement in what is happening,” Manchin told reporters after the bill was signed.
Manchin also pushed back against an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office that concluded the new law would have little to no effect on short-term inflation, telling CNN’s Kaitlan Collins that “they don’t always always been right” and that the new law “essentially gives confidence to the market.
And he also acknowledged that it may take time for Americans to feel the effect of the law, surmising that there could be visible progress in “a year or two or three years…but that doesn’t won’t happen in the next two, three, four months”. .”
The West Virginia Democrat also addressed Republicans in Congress, blaming what he called the “politics of the day” for their opposition to the bill.
The bill passed the Senate earlier this month after 16 hours of amendment votes – known as votes-a-rama – and the House of Representatives approved the bill along the lines of left last Friday.
The bill Biden signed on Tuesday does not include several provisions that had previously been proposed as part of the president’s plan, including paid family and sick leave, universal preschool, an expansion of the child tax credit improved, as well as provisions to reduce the cost of college.
The key legislative victory comes as the White House plans a major speech for Biden after Labor Day, which is billed as a hard-hitting kickoff for the midterm campaign.
Aides are preparing a speech in which the president will tout tangible, long-talked-about victories like lowering prescription drug costs and restrictions on guns, while hammering Republicans for being extremists who are in the pocket of particular interests.
Democrats are fighting to maintain their narrow majorities in Congress. And it’s not entirely clear whether voter perceptions of the president or his party will improve in the fall after a summer of dismal polls.
A CNN poll released in late July, for example, found that 75% of Democratic voters want their party to nominate someone other than Biden for president in 2024.
Now the White House is aiming to make the most of a string of victories – including passing the Cut Inflation Act – as part of a rush to reset its image ahead of the November election. .
Biden appeared on Tuesday to deliver a campaign speech focused on his optimism about the country’s future, arguing that he has been able to deliver much-needed progress to the American people.
“For me, the essential duty of the presidency is to stand up for the best in America. … To pursue justice, ensure fairness, and deliver results that create opportunity for all of us to live a life of consequence and prosperity in a safe and secure nation. This is the job. Fulfilling this commitment to you guides me every hour of every day in this work,” Biden said during the signing ceremony.
American presidents, he added, “should be judged, not just by our words but by our deeds, not by our rhetoric but by our actions, not by our promises but by reality. And today is part of an extraordinary story being written by this administration and our brave allies in Congress.
This story was updated with additional developments on Tuesday.
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CNN’s Alex Rogers, Clare Foran, Ali Zaslav, Manu Raju and Edward-Isaac Dovere contributed to this report.