US President Joe Biden's dream legislation on Climate Change got a major push this week from an expected quarter, Joe Manchin, Democratic Senator, who reversed his stand to back strongly the bill to raise corporate taxes, fight climate change and lower the medicine costs.
Climate control is part of the legislation more popularly known as Build Back Better agenda -- an ambitious plan to comprehensively rewrite the US's health, education, climate and tax laws.
Manchin, a West Virginian democrat, had previously objected to the proposal, citing fears more spending could worsen inflation. Passage of the bill would be a major legislative victory for Biden. Salvaging a key plank of his domestic agenda could also grant a much-needed electoral boost for his fellow Democrats, who are battling to retain control of Congress as midterm elections loom in November this year on the 8th, according to the US media .
"If enacted, this legislation will be historic," said the President. No one has a clue as to why Manchin dramatically reversed his stand to support the new bill. He is something of a political anomaly, representing a conservative state that voted overwhelmingly for former President Donald Trump, says the British Radio and TV network BBC in a report.
In a joint statement on Wednesday evening with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, Manchin provided few specifics about his change in position.
The bill Is said to be much more modest than the $3.5 trillion version Democrats originally put forward.
"By a wide margin, this new legislation will be the greatest pro-climate legislation that has ever been passed by Congress," Schumer was quoted by BBC as saying.
Manchin and Schumer also maintained the measure would pay for itself by raising $739 billion over the decade through hiking the corporate minimum tax on big companies to 15 per cent, beefing up Internal Revenue Service tax enforcement and allowing the government to negotiate prescription drug prices.
Biden needs the support of all 50 Democratic senators in the senate, along with Vice President Kamala Harris' tie breaking vote, to get the bill through the Senate and send it to the House of Representatives - where Democrats hold a razor-thin majority. If passed, the legislation would mark a major breakthrough for the president, enshrining a number of his major policy goals into law and offering to salvage a domestic economic agenda that has in recent months stalled under failed negotiations, the BBC reported.
The bill still amounts to significantly less than what the White House had hoped to achieve in its original $1.9 trillion Build Back Better agenda - an ambitious plan to comprehensively rewrite the US' health, education, climate and tax laws. That earlier plan, which for months has floundered in the Senate with an uncertain future, is now "dead", Manchin said on Wednesday.
Many parts of federal policy shift back and forth over time. Taxes rise and fall, as do spending on anti-poverty programs and the military. If a package of policies does not pass one year, it might pass in a future year, and the long-term trajectory of the United States probably would not be affected much.
Meanwhile, the New York Times in its morning brief said the world has already warmed to dangerous levels. Heat waves, wildfires, droughts and severe storms have become more common. The Arctic is melting, and seas are rising. If countries do not act quickly to slow their emissions of greenhouse gases -- and, by extension, slow global warming -- the damage could be catastrophic, scientists have warned.
The US has a uniquely important role in fighting climate change. It has produced far more greenhouse gases over the course of history than any other nation and remains a leading emitter today. In recent years, the US has done considerably less to reduce emissions than Europe.