As Senate Democrats tout a deal to advance a pared down version of Build Back Better, which stalled last year over objections from moderate Democratic senators, Republicans are calling the proposal a distraction as the country faces record-high prices and inflation.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., announced he had reached an agreement with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Wednesday evening on an economic bill that, if passed, would both move the Build Back Better agenda forward and also "address record inflation by paying down our national debt, lowering energy costs and lowering healthcare costs."
But Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the GOP's House elections arm, said the deal is meant to distract voters from Democratic policies that led to the skyrocketing inflation.
"This is Democrats' latest desperate attempt to get voters to forget they're paying record high prices for everything, and Democrats' policies are directly to blame," Emmer told Fox News Digital.
MANCHIN, SCHUMER AGREE TO VASTLY PARED BACK VERSION OF BUILD BACK BETTER
Republicans have made the economy and inflation the main midterm issues, and a June Fox News poll shows voters trust the GOP to handle inflation more than Democrats.
Democrats running in tight races have pushed the Biden administration to take more steps to fight inflation, and the president urged Congress earlier this month to move quickly on an economic bill before the August recess — a critical time for members of Congress to campaign during election years.
"Families all over the nation will sleep easier if Congress takes this action. The Senate should move forward, pass it before the August recess, and get it to my desk so I can sign it," Biden said in a White House statement released July 15.
While Manchin and Schumer's agreement contains many of President Biden's proposals, Manchin's statement denied that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 was a new Build Back Better bill.
LAWMAKERS REACT AFTER MANCHIN, SCHUMER AGREE TO RECONCILIATION DEAL: 'BUILD BACK BROKE'
"For too long, the reconciliation debate in Washington has been defined by how it can help advance Democrats political agenda called Build Back Better," Manchin said. "Build Back Better is dead, and instead we have the opportunity to make our country stronger by bringing Americans together. I will do everything I can to usher in a new era of compromise and commonsense that will make America more energy secure, financially sound and a more united country for this generation and the next."
The Manchin-Schumer agreement includes measures to increase energy independence while also combating the "climate crisis by reducing carbon pollution by roughly 40 percent by 2030," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to Democratic House members.
Manchin also urged colleagues "to put away the partisan swords and advance legislation that is in the best interests of the future of this nation and the American people we all represent – not just one party."
"The question for my colleagues is whether they are willing to put their election politics aside and embrace the commonsense approach that the overwhelming majority of the American people support and will best serve the future of this nation," Manchin added.