Democrats assail Republicans for using 'fake' math in their bid to sway Joe Manchin into derailing Biden's agenda
Republicans mounted a fresh assault on the Democratic spending plan with a new analysis.
Several Democrats called it "fake" math, an analysis of a hypothetical bill that's not on the table.
It was all meant to sway Sen. Joe Manchin, who can sink the Democratic-only legislation.
Congressional Republicans spent much of Friday leveling a fresh barrage of criticism against President Joe Biden's $2 trillion economic spending bill.
The Democrats returned fire.
A new analysis was released Friday from the Congressional Budget Office scoring the full cost of Biden's Build Back Better bill if all of its education, childcare, climate, and tax provisions were made permanent. (The current bill would have all of these expire.)
It was largely a Republican attempt to sway Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a conservative Democrat skeptical of the plan's price tag. That's because the nonpartisan scorekeeper completed the projections at the request of Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri, a pair of Republicans.
The analysis indicated that it would add $3 trillion to the federal deficit since it didn't factor in any potential tax increases to offset its cost. But Democrats and the White House countered that the analysis amounted to little more than "fake" math since it analyzed a hypothetical bill that wasn't on the table. They also pledged to finance any extension with tax increases.
"The Republicans are so desperate to justify their opposition to the popular, much-needed provisions in the Build Back Better Act that they've resorted to requesting fake scores based on mistruths," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a Friday statement.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi derided it as a "phony score," adding that Democrats would pay for any future legislation. That language was mirrored by White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who called it "a fake CBO score."
The CBO score came after the Labor Department reported consumer prices rose 6.8% in November compared to a year ago, reflecting ongoing supply-chain troubles and strong consumer demand. It's the highest inflation reading since 39 years ago, when Ronald Reagan sat in the Oval Office, and Republicans pounced.
"The one two-punch of the CBO score, showing the bill to be much more expensive, and record high inflation after 40 years, I think will give Sen. Manchin great pause," Sen. Lindsey Graham said at a press conference on Friday, adding that he spoke to the West Virginia lawmaker as well.
"He was stunned," Graham said, referring to Manchin. "I think he felt vindicated in that his concerns were legitimate."
All 50 Senate Democrats must stick together for the plan to clear the upper chamber over unanimous GOP opposition. Manchin has said he's alarmed about the prospect of runaway inflation, and Friday's government report could spell trouble for Democrats trying to pass the spending bill within 15 days and avoid a sudden lapse of monthly child tax credit payments next month.
Biden said Friday he didn't know whether he could get Manchin's vote on the bill, adding that the pair planned to speak early next week.
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