Democrats' climate, energy, tax bill clears initial Senate hurdle

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., waits for an elevator on Capitol Hill in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats started pushing their election-year economic bill through the Senate on Saturday, starting the sprawling collection of President Joe Biden's priorities on climate, energy, health and taxes on a pathway through Congress that the party hopes will end in victory by the end of this week.

In a preview of the sharply partisan votes that are expected on a mountain of amendments, the evenly divided Senate voted to begin debate on the legislation 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie and overcoming unanimous Republican opposition. The package, a dwindled version of earlier multitrillion-dollar measures that Democrats failed to advance, has become a partisan battleground over inflation, gasoline prices and other issues that polls show are driving voters.

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