President Biden is urging the Senate to swiftly pass the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, after West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s surprise announcement this week that he would support a budget reconciliation package to combat the climate crisis while lowering healthcare costs. The legislation represents just a fraction of the more than $3 trillion sought by progressive Democrats in 2020, but Biden said Thursday the deal would still be the most important climate legislation ever passed by Congress.
President Joe Biden: “This bill is far from perfect. It’s a compromise. But it is — it’s often how progress is made: by compromises. … This bill would be the most significant legislation in history to tackle the climate crisis and improve our energy security right away.”
The package includes nearly $370 billion in new spending on climate and energy over the next 10 years. But environmentalists warn it contains “poison pills” for the climate, like a requirement that the Interior Department open up millions of acres of public lands to new oil and gas development as a prerequisite to installing any new solar or wind energy. The Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement, “The new leasing required in this bill will fan the flames of the climate disasters torching our country, and it’s a slap in the face to the communities fighting to protect themselves from filthy fossil fuels.” We’ll have more on the emerging legislation later in the broadcast.