Joe Biden is back from vacation with a bang. The president of the United States, with his popularity on the floor due to the rise in prices, wants to recover the initiative. Biden will embark on a tour across the country to sell his star plan, the recently approved Inflation Reduction law. The first act of that offensive takes place this Tuesday at the White House, where he will sign the law and defend its benefits.
In the coming weeks, Biden “will travel across the country to highlight how the bill will help the American people,” according to the presidency. It is not yet known what route he will take, but all the members of his government are also mobilized with different initiatives and plan to make 35 trips to 23 states alone until the end of August, according to Political.
The president will also convene a Cabinet meeting focused on law enforcement. Cabinet meetings are relatively infrequent. The president and his chief of staff deal directly with the secretaries of the different departments and the collegiate body does not have specific powers beyond advising the president. It is made up of the vice president, the 15 secretaries of executive departments, the chief of staff and eight other members with different positions. This will be the fourth meeting since Biden took office 20 months ago.
In order to get the most out of the law in terms of communication, it will also organize an event to celebrate its promulgation next Tuesday, September 6 at the White House, just after Labor Day, the first Monday in September, which informally marks the end of the summer.
The rule has given some steam back to the Democrats less than three months before the mid-term legislative elections, in which they risk losing a majority in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. Now, at least, they have a major political achievement to sell. Despite its name, the measures of the rule will not serve to reduce inflation in the short term (either they are irrelevant to it or they come into force and unfold their effects in a few years), but in this it has also had the gift of opportunity, since right now inflation seems to have peaked and is beginning to ease.
“This historic law will reduce the cost of energy, prescription drugs and other health services for American families, combat the climate crisis, reduce the deficit and make the largest companies pay their fair share of taxes,” says the White House. It is a project that seemed dead just two months ago and that Biden and the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, Chuck Schummer, have managed to carry out, even if it is by significantly reducing their ambition due to the assignments to two wayward senators.
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Since the project was unblocked, the White House has flooded journalists with statements, reports and arguments about the benefits of the law. Now, Biden wants to bring that message closer to citizens across the country with a tour of which the details are not yet known. They will be institutional acts. In parallel, Biden will also participate in pure campaign events. The first is announced for next August 25: an act of the Democratic National Committee in Montgomery County (Maryland), on the outskirts of Washington.
Biden’s message is that he has approved a law that benefits families and is imposed on private interests that, he suggests, are defended by the Republicans, who have voted en bloc against the law.
Discount on medicines
The part that most easily reaches the citizen is the reduction of medicines. Currently, according to the White House, Americans pay two to three times more than citizens of other countries for prescription drugs. Between five and seven million beneficiaries of Medicare, the public insurance that covers, mainly, those over 65 years of age, could see costs reduced thanks to the provision that allows Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies the cost of some medicines.
In addition, 50 million beneficiaries “will have the peace of mind knowing that their pharmacy costs are capped at $2,000 a year, which will directly benefit some 1.4 million beneficiaries each year” who spend more than that figure. And 3.3 million Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes will benefit from the guarantee that their insulin costs are limited to $35 for a month’s supply, a limit that could not be generalized due to the Republican refusal.
To complete the health package, the law allows 13 million people to continue to save an average of $800 a year on health insurance premiums and three million more with health insurance. In the United States there is still 8% of the population without medical coverage of any kind, although it is a historical minimum.
The other part of the spending side of the law goes to combat climate change. For families, it includes incentives, tax credits and aid for the purchase of electric cars (although with severe limitations that have drawn criticism from the industry), to install more efficient heat pumps and appliances or to install more efficient solar panels.
For companies and communities, there will be incentives to increase the number of solar panels, wind farms and large batteries for energy storage. The law also allocates funds to protect forests and areas threatened by the effects of climate change.
All this is financed mainly with a tax reform for large companies. The law establishes a minimum tax of 15% for companies that declare a profit of more than 1,000 million dollars in their accounts, but that use deductions, tax credits and other fiscal engineering maneuvers to reduce their tax rates and even avoid paying profit taxes. A rate of 1% is also imposed on own share repurchases.
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