The first climate bill in 50 years passes the Senate

Fifty years! That in itself as an indictment of our political system and a reason to celebrate.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), finally passed by the Senate and on its way to nearly certain passage in the House, is not all that for which any thinking progressive could hope.

Some on the left are trashing the bill as not doing enough, and for some fossil fuel and Wall Street give-aways that were inserted to get the support of the Senate’s two spoilers.

It’s sad that those sweeteners had to be included, but until Democrats have a 52-seat majority, that is the way the game of politics has to be played.

The NY Times has an analysis piece up about the victory that gives an interesting timeline for the win, along with some examination of Republican mistakes along the way:

But Democrats pointed to approval of long-sought authority for Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices as something that would appeal to voters, along with the general sense that Democrats were finally getting things done on Capitol Hill. They relished the prospect of reminding voters that Republicans had voted against the drug-pricing measure, and forced Democrats to drop a proposal that would have capped the monthly cost of insulin at $35 for private insurers.

They also pointed to the climate change provisions as a huge leap forward, though not as extensive as Democrats had initially hoped to achieve before Mr. Manchin forced the party to pare back its goals.

“It’s a historic climate bill, and it wasn’t on the scoreboard one month ago,” said Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts and a leader on climate issues. “Senator Schumer, working with Manchin, has been able to pull out the key climate provisions that we need. It is not all that we wanted, but it was what we need to begin this effort to lead the rest of the world.”

Democrats also got some help from Republicans. Not only did the blunder on the veterans bill play into their hands, but Democrats said a threat by Mr. McConnell to block the microchip bill should Democrats proceed with the climate and tax bill backfired by motivating Mr. Manchin to pursue a compromise.

“Any time you threaten a bill you support because you are not getting your way on something else, you are in a bad spot,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland. “It just looks bad. It was so crassly political.”

Were the whole of Capitol Hill not crassly political we might not be in the mess we are in. But I understand what Van Hollen was trying to say.

I’m already seeing obvious bots and other fake accounts, no doubt partially from Russian troll farms, flooding my Facebook and Twitter feeds with supposed progressives trashing the Democrats for this win. Make no mistake: the IRA is a flawed, huge win.

You can read the rest of the Times piece at this link.

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