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Top Senate Dem candidates react to economic contraction, fall short of calling it a recession


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FIRST ON FOX: Several top Democrats in competitive Senate races are attempting to push back against the current economic burdens that have been placed on Americans.

The comments were provided exclusively to Fox News Digital on Thursday and followed an announcement from the Commerce Department that the gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, shrank by 0.9% on an annualized basis in the three-month period from April through June.

In a scathing response to the recent economic data, Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman, who currently serves as the state’s lieutenant governor and will face off in November against Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz, said it is time for members of Congress “to act and start taking serious action.”

“It’s clear that Washington is not doing enough to tackle inflation and help the working people of Pennsylvania,” Fetterman said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “While hard working Americans continue to pay absurd prices for gas, ExxonMobil recently announced that they’re on track to pocket $18 billion in profits in a single quarter. It does not take a genius to see what is going on here. They are making billions of dollars off the backs of regular people. We need to take on these companies and put an end to this.”

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Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman, right, speaks on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, in Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman, right, speaks on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, in Pittsburgh.
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

“We also need to be making more sh** in America to lower costs and make sure that the supply chain starts and ends here, instead of relying on companies and countries overseas,” he added. “Making more stuff at home will drive down prices for everyone, simplify our broken supply chains, and create more good-paying jobs for people across Pennsylvania. Washington needs to act and start taking serious action to lower costs for the working people across the country.”

Meredith Brasher, the communications director for Georgia Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock’s re-election campaign, insisted that the senator is continuously “working to lower costs” for his constituents in Georgia. 

“Reverend Warnock is working to lower costs for hardworking Georgia families: he successfully led the passage of the bipartisan CHIPS and Science bill to boost U.S. manufacturing and reduce our reliance on foreign nations like China, he’s fighting to cap the cost of insulin, and pushing to suspend the federal gas tax,” Brasher said.

Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., during a hearing on May 10, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., during a hearing on May 10, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
(Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)

Warnock, who seeks to defeat Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker in November, recently co-sponsored bipartisan legislation, known as the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, that was recently signed into law by President Biden to prevent foreign ocean carriers from refusing to ship U.S. goods to overseas markets.

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Offering similar remarks to that of Brasher, Lauren Wodarski, a spokesperson for Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., insisted the senator has prioritized “lowering costs” for residents in Nevada.

“Senator Cortez Masto is focused on lowering costs for Nevada families, including by making prescription drugs more affordable,” Wodarski said in a statement.

On Thursday, Cortez Masto, accompanied by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., introduced bicameral legislation to provide the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with additional authority to protect consumers and attempt to prevent the manipulation of electricity and natural gas markets.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., listens during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the Department of the Interior budget on Tuesday, July 27, 2021.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., listens during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the Department of the Interior budget on Tuesday, July 27, 2021.
(Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Cortez Masto is facing a tough re-election battle in Nevada against Republican Senate nominee Adam Laxalt, who enjoys the backing of former President Donald Trump.

Jacob Peters, the communications director for Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., told Fox News Digital that the senator is “focused” on the burdens faced by Arizonans as prices continue to rise for a number of goods and products.

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“Senator Kelly has been focused on the impacts on Arizonans facing rising costs for gas, groceries, prescription drugs, and other products,” Peters said.

Earlier this year, Kelly, along with Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., introduced the  Gas Prices Relief Act in an effort to suspend the federal gas tax through the end of the year.

Additionally, Kelly teamed up with West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin to urge the Biden administration to increase domestic oil production.

Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., speaks during a press conference following the weekly Democratic caucus policy luncheon on February 08, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., speaks during a press conference following the weekly Democratic caucus policy luncheon on February 08, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Kelly, who took office in December 2020 following a narrow special election victory, is running for re-election to the Senate. The Arizona state primary elections will be held on Tuesday and there’s a crowded field of Republicans who aim to unseat Kelly in November’s general election.

Prior to the first reading from the Commerce Department on the GDP’s shrinkage, Refinitiv economists expected the report to show the economy had expanded by 0.5%.

Economic output fell over the first three months of the year, with GDP tumbling 1.6%, the worst performance since the spring of 2020 when the economy was still deep in the throes of the COVID-induced recession.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.; Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.; Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, and Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.; Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.; Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, and Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.
(Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Julia Nikhinson/Bloomberg, Michelle Gustafson/Bloomberg, Paras Griffin)

Recessions are technically defined “a significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and lasts more than a few months,” and are characterized by high unemployment, low or negative GDP growth, falling income and slowing retail sales, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), which tracks downturns.

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On Wednesday, Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced they had agreed on a watered down version of Build Back Better known as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The measure, according to Manchin’s and Schumer’s offices, will raise $739 billion in revenue through IRS tax enforcement, the corporate minimum tax and closing the carried interest loophole. It will spend $433 billion total, they said, on energy and climate change provisions and on the Affordable Care Act extension.

Senate Democrats and Republicans are at odds over how the measure will impact the American economy as the midterm elections rapidly approach.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson and Megan Henney contributed to this article.



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