Day 555: "Get it done."
1/ Biden hailed the Inflation Reduction Act as “a historic agreement to fight inflation” and “the most significant legislation in history to tackle the climate crisis.” Biden’s remarks came a day after Joe Manchin blessed the package that would raise $739 billion over the decade in new revenue, including $313 billion from a 15% corporate minimum tax, spend $369 billion on energy and climate change initiatives, allow Medicare to negotiate the cost of some prescription drugs, provide three years of Affordable Care Act subsidies, and make changes to the tax code. Climate and energy provisions in the legislation are sufficient to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 40% by 2030. Kyrsten Sinema, however, hasn’t publicly backed it or commented, and did not attend the caucus meeting. Senate Democrats want to get the bill passed before the chamber’s August recess, which is scheduled to begin August 6. To do that, the bill will first need to comply with the parliamentarian’s strict budget rules, then Democrats will need to have all 50 members to be present and vote for the package – as well as the tie-breaking vote from Harris – for it to pass the Senate with a simple majority. “My plea is: Put politics aside. Get it done,” Biden said. “We should pass this.” (Politico / The Guardian / Associated Press / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / NBC News)
What’s in the “game changer” climate bill nobody saw coming. “The bill would use tax credits to incentivize consumers to buy electric cars, electric HVAC systems, and other forms of cleaner technology that would lead to less emissions from cars and electricity generation, and includes incentives for companies to manufacture that technology in the United States. It also includes money for a host of other climate priorities, like investing in forest and coastal restoration and in resilient agriculture.” (Vox)
Surprise Deal Would Be Most Ambitious Climate Action Undertaken by U.S. “The bill aims to tackle global warming by using billions of dollars in tax incentives to ramp up wind, solar, geothermal, battery and other clean energy industries over the next decade. Companies would receive financial incentives to keep open nuclear plants that might have closed, or to capture emissions from industrial facilities and bury them underground before they can warm the planet. Car buyers with incomes below a certain level would receive a $7,500 tax credit to purchase a new electric vehicle and $4,000 for a used one. Americans would receive rebates to install heat pumps and make their homes more energy-efficient.” (New York Times)
Senate deal could be most significant climate bill yet. “The climate and tax package would bolster American energy production and combat climate change through tax incentives for the renewable-energy sector, increasing wind, solar, battery and geothermal construction. Tens of millions of drivers would qualify for new tax credits to buy electric vehicles. Homeowners across the country would get financial help to pay for heat pumps and insulate their properties.” (Washington Post)
2/ The economy contracted for the second straight quarter, hitting a commonly accepted rule of thumb for a recession. The official arbiter of recessions in the U.S., however, is the National Bureau of Economic Research, which usually doesn’t make a recession determination until long after the fact. Gross domestic product fell at an annual rate of 0.9% from April to June – following a 1.6% annual drop from January to March. Most economists, meanwhile, expect the economy to grow in the third quarter and in 2022 as a whole. (CNBC / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Associated Press)
3/ Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen rejected claims that the U.S. is in a recession, pointing to the strong labor market, a rebound in manufacturing, and other metrics as signs of its health. Biden said that while “it’s no surprise that the economy is slowing down as the Federal Reserve acts to bring down inflation,” he pointed to strong job growth, unemployment at near record lows, and business investments. “That doesn’t sound like recession to me.” Yellen, meanwhile, noted that recessions are usually marked by substantial job losses, family budgets under strain, and a “broad-based weakening of the economy.” Yellen added: “That is not what we’re seeing right now.” (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)
4/ The House passed a $280 billion bill aimed at making the U.S. more competitive in the semiconductor industry. Chips and Science Act would subsidize domestic semiconductor manufacturing and expansion, as well as invest billions in science and technology innovation. Republican leaders urged their members to vote against the legislation after Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin announced a deal on a separate climate, health care, and tax bill. (CNBC / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)
5/ The Jan. 6 committee interviewed Trump’s former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who reportedly discussed possibly invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office with then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The committee will also interview Pompeo as soon as this week and is speaking with former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney today. Mulvaney resigned a day after the January 2021 riot. The committee is also negotiating terms for a potential interview with former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe. (ABC News / CNN / CNBC)
poll/ 71% of Americans say political division and polarization is a key problem in the nation’s civil discourse. 47% said they’re “optimistic about the future because young people are committed to making this country a better place to live for everyone.” (Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service)
poll/ 54% of Georgia voters oppose the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, with 49% saying they were “strongly opposed.” 42% of likely Georgia voters said they’re more likely to vote for a candidate who wants to protect abortion rights, while 26% said they’re motivated to vote for someone who want to limit access to the procedure. 55% of voters disagree with Georgia’s new abortion law, which outlaws the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. About 36% of Georgians support the measure. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
poll/ 60% of voters do not want Biden to run in the 2024 presidential election. 57% said Trump should not run again. (The Guardian)
poll/ 31% of Democrats would most prefer Harris as the 2024 Democratic presidential nominee if Biden doesn’t run, followed by 17% who chose California Gov. Gavin Newsom. (The Hill)
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