Senate budget deal a primer on key differences between Republicans and Democrats

Insulin prices are so high that some diabetics have died while trying to self-ration. And yet an at-large $35 cap was defeated.

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Editorials

August 9, 2022 - 4:13 PM

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) celebrates the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act Sunday, Aug. 7. The Senate worked overnight Saturday into Sunday as they moved toward the final passage of the budget deal. (DREW ANGERER/TNS)

Senate Democrats over the weekend passed legislation to help industry and individual Americans move to cleaner energy, make corporations pay their fair share in taxes and lower prescription prices for struggling seniors, all while lowering the deficit and, potentially, inflation. Republicans’ sole contribution to this historic package was to keep insulin costs outrageously high for millions of diabetics. Voters should remember that contrast in priorities come November.

Assuming the House passes the measure later this month as expected, the package that squeaked by in the Senate on Sunday represents America’s first major legislation confronting climate change — and it does so in ways that won’t destroy the economy. It offers tax credits to incentivize Americans to buy electric cars, spurs investment in solar and wind power, and takes other approaches that are constructive rather than punitive.

Democrats attempted to cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 per dose for people not covered by Medicare, in a bid to halt price-gouging by the pharmaceutical industry. Insulin prices are so high that some diabetics have died while trying to self-ration. Yet Senate Republicans astonishingly used a parliamentary maneuver to defeat the cap. For once, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley did the right thing, joining just six other Republicans siding with vulnerable Americans on this one issue (though not on the broader bill, which didn’t get a single GOP vote).

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