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September 15, 2022 3:24 PM, EDT

Republicans Ramp Up Criticism of Biden, Democrats as Shutdown Looms

John Barrasso (left) and Mitch McConnellSen. John Barrasso (left), shown with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, says, “To bring prices down and get our country back on the right track, we must … stop this reckless Washington spending." (Eric Lee/Bloomberg News)

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Congressional Republican leaders vying for control of the House and Senate continued to take aim at Democrats’ record and their ongoing policy proposals as both parties debate a stopgap government funding bill.

On Sept. 13, top Democrats joined President Joe Biden at the White House to tout the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as laws related to infrastructure and semiconductor computer chips.



“The American people’s No. 1 priority is the runaway inflation that is smashing their family budgets and crushing our economy,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sept. 14, referring to the Democratic-led Inflation Reduction Act.

“This is what Democrats do while our economy crumbles. They subsidize luxury electric cars; they make plumbers and retail workers eat the graduate school debt of doctors and lawyers; and they throw a party for themselves on the White House lawn,” McConnell added.

“Nonstop price hikes under the Biden administration are a gut punch to the men and women of Wyoming who go to work every day,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), a senior member of the chamber’s Republican caucus. “To bring prices down and get our country back on the right track, we must unleash American energy, cut Washington red tape, and stop this reckless Washington spending.”

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)

Thune

Several of Barrasso’s colleagues echoed his viewpoint.

“Democrats had a big party to celebrate a bill that may fulfill some of their big-government fantasies but will do nothing to fix the inflation crisis facing our country,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) argued.

“Meanwhile, Americans were dealing with the release of August’s inflation numbers — which were even higher than expected and made it very clear that soaring prices will continue for the foreseeable future,” Thune added. 

At the White House event, Biden cheered a recent string of legislative achievements related to his domestic Build Back Better social infrastructure agenda. The Inflation Reduction Act, for instance, sought to address climate change and promote equity.

“With this law, the American people won and special interest lost,” Biden told an audience of supporters. “Folks, we’re going to lower prescription drug costs, lower health insurance costs, lower energy costs for millions of families And we are going to take the most aggressive action ever, ever, ever to confront the climate crisis and increase our energy security.”

pelosi

Pelosi

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who attended the event, said, “When President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, he not only made history, he made progress. When Congress passes legislation, frankly, we jumped for joy. This is so exciting, because of the transformative difference this law would make for America’s working families.”

Meanwhile, Congress is working on a Sept. 30 deadline to avert a partial government shutdown. Absent an agreement on fiscal 2023 funding bills, leaders from each chamber have pointed to the potential for extending funding authority for government agencies through mid-December.

A short-term funding bill is likely to reach the president’s desk prior to the deadline, top Democrats and Republicans have suggested. The stopgap bill would continue to fund at current levels the operations in the U.S. Department of Transportation.

In July, Senate Democrats unveiled fiscal 2023 legislation that would dedicate $367.5 million for the safety operations and programs division at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. For the safety grants division at the agency, senators called for $506.1 million. The proposal for FMCSA matched House-passed funding levels as well as the White House’s request. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the leaders on the Appropriations Committee, have not announced the consideration of fiscal 2023 legislation.

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