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Biden to sign massive climate and healthcare legislation

KIAWAH ISLAND (AP) – United States (US) President Joe Biden is set to sign Democrats’ landmark climate change and healthcare bill, delivering what he has called the “final piece” of his pared-down domestic agenda, as he aims to boost his party’s standing with voters less than three months before the midterm elections.

The legislation includes the most substantial federal investment in history to fight climate change – some USD375 billion over the decade – and would cap prescription drug costs at USD2,000 out-of-pocket annually for Medicare recipients.

It also would help an estimated 13 million Americans pay for health care insurance by extending subsidies provided during the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure is paid for by new taxes on large companies and stepped-up IRS enforcement of wealthy individuals and entities, with additional funds going to reduce the federal deficit.

The House on Friday approved the measure on a party-line 220-207 vote. It passed the Senate days earlier with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking a 50-50 tie in that chamber.

US President Joe Biden rides a bicycle in Kiawah Island. PHOTO: AP

Biden is set to sign the bill during a small ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House, sandwiched between his return from a six-day beachside vacation in South Carolina and his departure for his home in Wilmington, Delaware. He plans to hold a larger “celebration” for the legislation on September 6 once lawmakers return to Washington.

The signing caps a spurt of legislative productivity for Biden and Congress, who in three months have approved legislation on veterans’ benefits, the semi-conductor industry and gun checks for young buyers. The president and lawmakers have also responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and supported NATO membership for Sweden and Finland.

With Biden’s approval rating lagging, Democrats are hoping that the string of successes will jump-start their chances of maintaining control in Washington in the November midterms.

The 79-year-old president aims to restore his own standing with voters as he contemplates a re-election bid.

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