The United States Senate has passed a bill that includes $ 369 billion (£ 305 billion) for climate change, the largest investment in American history.
The authors of the Inflation Reduction Act say it will reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.
Some families can get a tax credit of up to $ 7,500 to purchase an electric car and $ 4,000 for a used car.
The bill – a key part of President Joe Biden’s agenda – will now be sent to the Democratic-controlled House.
It is expected to be sustained there this week before it can be signed by Mr. Biden. With the midterm elections three months away, the bill’s passage is seen as a boost for Democrats.
In addition to climate protection measures, the sweeping package also includes provisions that its proponents say will cut health care costs and raise taxes for big business.
However, it is a simplified version of an earlier bill that was blocked by two Democratic senators who shared Republican concerns about its cost.
The climate action comes as the United States experiences a wave of extreme weather, including a recent heat wave and deadly flooding in Kentucky that killed dozens of people. President Biden is expected to visit flood-damaged areas of the state on Monday.
Many factors contribute to flooding, but the warming atmosphere caused by climate change makes extreme rainfall more likely.
The world has already warmed by around 1.1°C since the start of the industrial age, and temperatures will continue to rise unless governments around the world drastically reduce emissions.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the legislature will “make history.”
After a marathon one-night session, Democrats wept with joy and threw their fists in the air after the bill — the product of 18 months of intense struggle — passed the Senate.
Democrats negotiated among themselves for months to ensure the package – valued at more than $700 billion – garnered the support of each of the party’s 50 senators it took – alongside the groundbreaking vote of vice -President Kamala Harris – to pass the bill. Senate.
The resulting compromise is a significantly scaled-down version of a much broader measure that many Democrats had hoped to approve over the past year. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “After more than a year of hard work, the Senate is making history. For Americans who have lost faith that Congress can do great things, this bill is for you”.
Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, reportedly cried for joy as he left the room.
“Now I can look my son in the eye and say we’re really doing something for the climate,” he said, according to the New York Times.
Some Republicans have said they will try to slow or block the progress of the bill, which also includes $ 64 billion for health care.
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio said the bill was flawed because it didn’t help lower prices for workers or keep criminals in jail – “the things that matter to workers in this country.” On Saturday, Congress debated a revised version of the bill after compromises were reached on the original more ambitious plan with two prominent Democratic resisters, Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
Mr. Manchin had feared that the original bill would exacerbate inflation.
The industry measures in the bill include tax credits for clean energy development that will help with high upfront costs. A new $ 27 billion clean energy technology accelerator will be created to advance sustainable technologies.
The US $ 60 billion will also be given to communities that have suffered the most from fossil fuel pollution. President Biden – who called the bill “historic” – pledged to bring the US back to the international climate action scene. In April last year, he pledged to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030.
Last month, he announced $ 2.2 billion to help build infrastructure that can withstand extreme weather conditions and natural disasters.