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Jonathan Bernstein

The Do-Something Congress Is on a Roll

Funding for chipmakers. A deal on health care, taxes, climate and energy. Investment in infrastructure. Even a pinch of bipartisanship. Did somebody slay the gridlock monster?



Photographer: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

It’s time to talk about what’s turning out to be a highly productive 117th Congress. There’s no guarantee that the surprise agreement reached Wednesday between Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin on a revived Build Back Better plan — er, sorry, that’s the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” — will pass, but the trimmed-back version of President Joe Biden’s health, tax, climate and energy initiative is closer to becoming law than ever. And the Chips and Science bill that passed the Senate earlier on Wednesday, with $52 billion for US semiconductor development, adds to an impressive string of bipartisan agreements that have produced legislative achievements already, with a chance for more before the end of the year.

So what can we say about this?