A “historic” spending bill passed by the narrowest of margins in the U.S. Senate last weekend will lower prescription drug costs for Pennsylvania’s senior citizens and set the stage for a cleaner environment for the commonwealth’s young people.
That’s the message that U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and other Democrats delivered Thursday as they touted the benefits of sweeping energy, health care, climate, and tax package that Democrats hope will help lift their electoral fortunes as they head into the fall campaign season.
“The drama of the vote is secondary to what’s in the bill,” Casey said, referring to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote that sent the 755-page bill to the U.S. House, which is expected to take it up on Friday, according to previous reporting by the Capital-Star’s Washington Bureau.
“So many people told us we couldn’t get it done on prescription drug costs for seniors,” Casey said, referring to language in the laboriously negotiated bill allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices of some prescription medication while capping out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries to $2,000 a year.
The bill also will spend nearly $370 billion on clean energy programs and would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030. That’s less than what was sought by President Joe Biden, and Casey acknowledged Thursday that “We still have more work to do, there’s no question about it.”
The programs in the bill largely will be paid for by a 15 percent minimum tax on corporate profits, according to the New York Times. State Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, who spoke at Thursday’s rally, said the bill would require the nation’s largest companies to “pay their fair share.”
“This bill helps so many [people] in our commonwealth,” Kim said Thursday.
Lisa Rhodes, who chairs the state Democratic Party’s Black Caucus, reflected on the bill’s importance to her own family. Rhodes said she also serves as a caregiver for her father, who depends on prescription medication to handle a debilitating health condition.
Headed into the thick of what is expected to be a bruising midterm campaign cycle, Democrats said Thursday that the bill draws clear contrasts with Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have opposed the Biden administration’s social and economic agenda.
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