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N.D., Minn. Senators stick to party lines in narrow vote over climate, prescription drug bill

On Sunday, the U.S. Senate narrowly passed a bill intended to confront climate change and lower prescription drug costs, with the vote split along party lines.

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The U.S. Capitol
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WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Sunday, Aug. 7, the U.S. Senate narrowly voted to approve a $430 billion bill intended to confront climate change and reduce the cost of prescription drugs.

The bill, dubbed the "Inflation Reduction Act," was approved 51-50 along strict party lines, with North Dakota's senators voting against the bill and Minnesota's senators voting for it. Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote in what is being hailed by Democrats and the Biden administration as a victory ahead of midterm elections.

Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., described the bill as the "Inflation Enhancement Act" in a statement.

"This bill is fiscally irresponsible, needlessly bureaucratic, and damaging to every sector of the American economy from energy to agriculture to pharmaceuticals and manufacturing," Cramer said.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said the bill will make inflation worse and pointed to an amendment he proposed that would halt the bill going into effect until inflation eased. The amendment was blocked.

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“New energy taxes and Green New Deal-style subsidies will worsen our current energy crisis and weaken our nation’s economic and national security,” Hoeven said in a statement.

Saturday will kick off an arduous process that could extend into early next week, with senators offering amendment after amendment in a time-consuming "vote-a-rama."

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said the bill represents a critical step forward in "addressing the most pressing challenges of our time."

“This is a big, big deal. With this bill, we’re taking huge steps to lower the cost of prescription drugs and tackle the climate crisis, all while significantly reducing our national debt," Klobuchar said in a statement.

Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., echoed Klobuchar, calling the bill a "big deal."

"Senate Democrats got climate, health care, deficit reduction and tax fairness done – without the help of a single Republican," Smith said on Twitter.

The bill now moves to the House, where it is expected pass by the end of the week.

Kris Kerzman is the social media manager for InForum.
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