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Monday, September 26, 2022

On The Money — Dems’ big bill makes it out of Congress

Democrats just passed their mammoth tax, climate and health care bill, advancing key parts of President Biden’s agenda ahead of the critical November elections. We’ll look at just what’s inside the bill, a recent ruling on an Obama-era freeze on coal leasing on public lands, and more. 

But first, where will you find Schumer, sunflowers and a supermoon altogether? Check out The Hill’s photos of the week to find out. 

Welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. We’re Aris Folley and Karl Evers-HillstromSubscribe here.

Dems pass mammoth climate, tax, health package

House Democrats passed their sweeping tax, climate and health care bill on Friday, sending the $740 billion legislation to President Biden’s desk and securing a significant victory for Democrats less than three months before the midterm elections.

The bill, titled the Inflation Reduction Act, passed the House in a 220-207 party-line vote. Four Republicans did not vote, while every Democrat voted in support. 

  • Passage through Congress marks the culmination of more than a year of negotiations among Senate Democrats on a spending package. The legislation will increase taxes on corporations, address climate change and bring down the prices of prescription drugs, all while lowering the deficit.
  • The bill offers incentives to businesses and consumers to make cleaner energy choices, including utilizing lower-carbon and carbon-free energy, and it creates new programs that will bolster investments in climate.
  • On the health care end, the measure will allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices for 10 high-cost drugs starting in 2026. By 2029, that number is expected to grow to 20 drugs. Additionally, the measure allows caps to be placed on some drug costs, but mainly for Medicare. 

Every Democrat backed the bill, including Rep. Jared Golden (Maine), the only Democrat to oppose an earlier, larger measure approved by the House that was blocked by Manchin in the Senate. He called it “common-sense legislation” and “fiscally responsible” in a statement prior to the vote.  

However, some progressive lawmakers had grumbled about the bill not being as expansive as they had hoped. 

The Hill’s Mychael Schnell breaks it down here
 

SEE ALSO: Here’s what’s in the Inflation Reduction Act, the sweeping bill impacting health, climate and taxes 

LEADING THE DAY 

Democrats’ signature economic bill puts $200 billion toward deficit reduction: analysis 

A sprawling Democratic economic package slated to pass Congress this week could contribute to more than $200 billion in cumulative deficit reduction, according to an analysis released by the Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM) on Friday. 

The analysis estimates the latest iteration of the bill, which is poised to sail out of the House on Friday after passing the Senate last week, would reduce the country’s non-interest cumulative deficits by $264 billion over the next 10 years.  

  • The figure is $16 billion higher than a previous version of the bill, dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act, analyzed by the PWBM late last month, following changes made to tax provisions of the plan intended to raise revenue ahead of its passage in the upper chamber days ago.
  • The analysis found the bill would not have a “meaningful effect on inflation in the near term,” although it estimated the plan would help reduce “inflation by around 0.1 percentage points by the middle of the first decade.” 

However, Democrats have argued that the bill will have a positive impact on inflation, while also providing some relief to Americans with policies to reform prescription drug pricing by allowing Medicare to negotiate costs for some drugs. 

The analysis also found that most tax increases that would result from the bill would “fall on higher income households,” but not all of them. 

“People alive today bear the burden of business tax increases in the form of lower investment returns and lower wages in the near term,” the analysis states. “However, future generations gain from the adoption of the Act, including positive gains to capital formation from reducing the debt as well as the increase in total factor productivity from reducing carbon emissions relative to baseline.” 

Aris has more here

SEE ALSO: When will Americans feel the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act?

OBAMA-ERA FREEZE 

Federal court restores Obama-era freeze on coal leasing on public lands 

A federal judge on Friday restored a 2016 moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands that had been overturned by the Trump administration. 

In the ruling, Judge Brian Morris of the District of Montana, an Obama appointee, ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reimpose the moratorium until it has conducted a more thorough environmental analysis. 

Former Trump-appointed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had reversed the Obama-era hold in 2017. In January, the Biden administration rescinded Zinke’s specific order but did not fully reimpose the moratorium. 

Leasing of federal lands for coal mining accounted for about 40 percent of U.S. coal production in 2015. 

The Hill’s Zack Budryk has the details here

GOOGLE GETS FINED 

Google fined $43 million for misleading users over data 

An Australian court has ordered Google to pay roughly $43 million ($60 million AUD) for misleading users about the collection and use of their location data, an Australian competition watchdog said Friday.  

The court found Google breached Australian Consumer Law between January 2017 and December 2018 by misrepresenting to some Android users what settings allowed Google to collect and use personal location data, according to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s announcement.

  • The court found that Google represented to some users that the “Location History” setting was the only one that affected whether Google collected, kept and used data about a user’s location, but another “Web & App Activity” setting also let it collect and use the data when turned on, the watchdog said. 
  • The watchdog estimates that 1.3 million Google account users in Australia may have been impacted. Google took remedial steps to address the issue by December 2018, according to the competition watchdog. 

The Hill’s Rebecca Klar has more here

Good to Know

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) told The Hill on Friday that he will push for the permitting deal between Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Democratic leadership to be a standalone vote — rather than attached to another vehicle that may incentivize more of his colleagues to vote for it. 

Grijalva said that he and a handful of colleagues planned to make a request on Friday that the vote — on an agreement he fears will weaken environmental standards — be a standalone. 

Here’s what else we have our eye on: 

  • The State Department announced that it was offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identity and location of five individuals believed to be tied to the Conti ransomware group. 

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week. 

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