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Pictured: West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin
Senator Joe Manchin shocked Democrats and Republicans across the nation upon reaching a landmark deal on climate and infrastructure. nna Moneymaker/Getty Images.

U.S. Senate strikes ambitious Climate Deal agreement

The announcement came on Wednesday, July 27, as a surprise to many.

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On Wednesday, July 27, Senate Democrats reached an agreement to authorize a multi-billion dollar climate package that could reset the U.S.’s global position on climate. In a surprising partisan step for Senator Joe Manchin, the proposed $369 billion climate deal, which would go on a vote as early as next week, aims to tackle emission reductions via tax incentives. 

The bill was unveiled late on Wednesday when Manchin announced that he and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer struck a deal to advance the measure to a vote. The agreement was unknown four hours earlier when it appeared that Manchin would walk away from further negotiations. 

“For now, it looks like this deal keeps us in the climate fight and puts us within striking distance of our 2030 climate goals (eg w/ executive, state/local & private action),” wrote Jesse Jenkins, assistant professor at Princeton University.

Jenkins leads the REPEAT project, an organization dedicated to advising congressional legislation by taking a deep look into U.S. Energy policy. 

The REPEAT project also modeled the effects of the proposed legislation, H.R. 3684

While the measure covers a broad swath of American infrastructure, like subsidy expansions for the Affordable Care Act and Medicare drug prescriptions, the climate portion will have lasting effects on the damaging effects of climate change.

By expanding tax incentives, the bill alters how the U.S. manages energy production. 

Need to know:

  • It allocates $30 billion in incentives for companies to build solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries and to process critical minerals in the United States.
  • Allocates $60 billion to address pollution.
  • Transformative restructure of U.S transportation to reduce emissions. 
  • Reduce highway congestion by shifting travelers to off-peak travel time or nonhighway travel modes.

Previously, developers had to renew tax incentives every one or two years, whereas the legislation proposes lasting incentives for up to 10 years. The broadened scope of the bill gives developers leeway to get more buck for their bang through the new production tax credit. 

The measure also tackles electric vehicle sales by offering cash rebates for buyers — up to $150,000 for singles and $300,000 for couples. It will also push for integrating electric vehicles into public transportation, including trucking and freight, thus altering vehicle infrastructure and usage in the United States.

It also seeks to address a critical reduction in pollution, disproportionately affecting low-income communities and communities of color

Because these communities have less access to resources, it often results in higher rates of poor air quality, leading to health disparities. 

As it stands, the bill has yet to survive a Senate vote to make its way to the President’s desk. First, it must summon the support of all 50 Senate democrats. However, Kirsten Synema is doubtful of tax provisions, which she said she could not support. 

It also faces an uphill battle since Senate Republicans are unanimously opposed to the bill. Historically, no Republican lawmaker has supported a climate plan, and many feel duped by Manchin’s announcement.

“Senators Manchin and Schumer did not draft this 725-page bill in the four hours between the passage of the CHIPS Act and Senator Manchin’s press release,” said Senator John Cornyn. 

“They’ve been working on this the entire time when they told us it was off the table,” he added.

They thought the bill was dead.

However, it is yet to be seen if Capitol Hill will take the decisive step to address augmenting climate change effects. 

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