SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — On Saturday, the Senate voted to move along an extensive climate and economic bill with the support of all 50 Senate Democrats, bringing hindered parts of President Joe Biden’s agenda one step closer to actuality.

The Inflation Reduction Act will include major spending to tackle climate change and expand health care coverage, paid for with savings on prescription drugs and taxes on corporations. It puts hundreds of billions of dollars toward deficit reduction.

FILE – President Joe Biden walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on his way to his Rehoboth Beach, Del., home, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

“Today, Senate Democrats sided with American families over special interests, voting to lower the cost of prescription drugs, health insurance, and everyday energy costs and reduce the deficit, while making the wealthiest corporations finally pay their fair share.” stated President Biden yesterday. “I ran for President promising to make government work for working families again, and that is what this bill does — period.”

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp along with 21 other GOP Governors responded to the bill with the following statement. “While denying a recession, Democrats want to raise taxes on businesses and manufacturers, which will force higher costs onto consumers, worsen inflation, and aggravate shortages.”.

The GOP Governors continued, “With sky-high prices at the pump, the last thing Americans need is for Democrats to punish energy producers, which will ultimately hurt working families struggling to pay for gas, goods, food, and utilities. Our citizens cannot afford Joe Biden’s broken promises on taxes and Democrats’ inflationary spending that will only exacerbate the economic crisis they created.”

Climate change

Concerning climate change, yesterday, President Joe Biden stated, “This bill also makes the largest investment ever in combating the existential crisis of climate change. It addresses the climate crisis and strengthens our energy security, creating jobs manufacturing solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles in America with American workers. It lowers families’ energy costs by hundreds of dollars each year.”

Changes to Earth’s climate have been driven by increased human emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gasses that have caused widespread effects on the environment such as warmer weather. According to the United Nations, the last decade, 2011-2020, is the warmest on record, with each year warmer than the previous.

As temperatures rise, more moisture evaporates, which exacerbates extreme rainfall and flooding, causing more destructive storms in many regions, including the Coastal region of Georgia.

A car makes its way through a flooded road in Savannah, Georgia, after Hurricane Matthew hit the United States. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

According to the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, Georgia regularly faces many types of natural disasters including hurricanes, tornadoes, severe storms, wildfires and floods that can cause widespread damage, crippling communities across the state, including the city of Savannah.

The City of Savannah has been prone to flood hazards and has seen the frequent flooding of streets and intersections which in turn impedes traffic flow and causes significant interruptions to mobility and commerce. 

The cause of flooding in Savannah can be attributed to a number of factors, including its low elevation, relatively flat terrain, close proximity to the coast, 6 to 9 foot tides, and an abundance of rivers, creeks and streams that surround the City. 

Although the City has constructed a series of canals to convey stormwater, which has been supplemented by additional drainage improvements of varying capacities to help alleviate potential flooding, Savannah residents continue to have concerns about ongoing flood issues, both inside and outside of their homes after storms.

Expand healthcare coverage

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says that some of the leading causes of death in Georgia include cancer and diabetes.

In fact, the American Diabetes Association has reported that approximately 1,013,358 people in Georgia, or 12.4% of the adult population, have diagnosed diabetes. An additional 234,000 people in Georgia have diabetes but don’t know it, greatly increasing their health risk.

There are 2,674,000 people in Georgia, 33.7% of the adult population, who have prediabetes with blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Every year an estimated 73,912 people in Georgia are diagnosed with diabetes according to the association.

Georgia Healthy Cities data estimates that nearly 13% of Savannah’s residents are diabetic.

People with diabetes have medical expenses approximately 2.3 times higher than those who do not have diabetes and the cost has more than tripled in the last two decades forcing the nation’s diabetics to pay thousands of dollars a year for the life-saving medication. 

On capping the cost of prescription drugs, President Biden said, “This bill caps seniors’ out of pocket spending for prescription drugs at $2000 per year—no matter what their drug bills would otherwise be, seniors will not have to spend more than $2000. In addition, 13 million Americans, covered under the Affordable Care Act, will see their health insurance premiums reduced by $800.”

Taxes on Corporations

Concerning taxing corporations President Biden said, “Finally, it pays for all this by establishing a minimum corporate tax so that our richest corporations start to pay their fair share. It does not raise taxes on those making under $400,000 a year—not one cent.”

However, the GOP believes consumers, including those making under $400,000, will pay another way, with higher costs.

According to the United States Census Bureau From 2016-2020, the median household income in Savannah was $46,149, with 20.4% in poverty in a population of around 148,095 in 2020.

Some GOP governors said, “The governors of the aforementioned states will continue doing their part to alleviate the burden placed on citizens as a result of inflation—including actions like Governor Kemp’s suspension of the state’s motor fuel tax, tax refund, and state income tax cut—but the federal government must act sensibly and quickly to reverse course.”