Biden to tout climate change and prescription drug law at White House event

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks touting the benefits of the ‘Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’, at Terminal E of Boston Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, US, on September 12, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Sept 13 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden will celebrate his climate change and drug pricing legislation, The Inflation Reduction Act, on Tuesday with an event at the White House to highlight Democrats’ commitment to progressive priorities before the November elections.

Biden signed the $430 billion bill, considered the biggest climate change package in US history, last month in a low-key ceremony.

Tuesday’s event on the South Lawn of the White House will bring together more lawmakers and interest groups who worked to pass it, and give Biden an opportunity to talk about key elements of the law that are important to his political basis.

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He will also use it to target the Republicans. Biden plans to argue that they should have supported the package but that they “unanimously oppose lower costs for the American people,” the White House said in a preview of its remarks.

Republicans suggest the legislation will lead to higher energy prices and aggressive Internal Revenue Service audits.

In addition to providing incentives for the clean energy industry, the law allows Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors, seeks to ensure corporations and wealthy individuals pay their taxes through strengthened IRS resources and aims to fight inflation by reducing the federal deficit.

Biden had hoped to secure a trillion-plus ‘Build Back Better’ bill with measures to fight global warming and tackle other social issues, but couldn’t get it through. the 100-member US Senate, which is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans and whose rules require 60 votes to advance most bills.

Support from Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a conservative Democrat who opposed the more expensive bill, helped pass the smaller one. At the August 17 signing ceremony, Biden gave Manchin the pen he used to sign the legislation.

As a presidential candidate, Biden has promised to make the fight against global warming a top priority. He brought the US back to the international Paris climate accord, which Republican President Donald Trump withdrew from, and sought to revamp the US economy to prioritize clean energy, vehicles electricity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Younger and left-leaning voters are particularly keen on fighting climate change, and the president has sought to appeal to them ahead of November’s congressional elections in which Democrats risk losing control of the House of Representatives and of the Senate.

Inflation is a major political headache for Biden, however, and one of the reasons the bill was named for his efforts to combat it.

A key measure of inflation, the August consumer price index, will be released on Tuesday and is expected to show a decline from July, led by lower gasoline prices.

Consumer prices in the United States, which have climbed at the fastest pace in four decades, rose 8.5% in the 12 months to July.

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Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Gerry Doyle

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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