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U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed how President Biden’s incredibly out-of-touch budget would raise taxes, expand the federal government, and make inflation worse. Thune noted that the president’s budget fails to adequately address border security and immigration enforcement, and it would essentially leave defense spending flat, which would dangerously underfund our military.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, if a budget is a set of priorities, here are the president’s:
“An expanded federal government.
“A diminished national defense.
“Higher gas prices.
“And an open border.
“Those are the priorities reflected in the budget the president released last week, which contains pretty much what you’d expect.
“More taxes. More spending. More borrowing. And probably more inflation as a result.
“Mr. President, big taxes and big spending have been the agenda for President Biden since he took office.
“After signing a $1.9 trillion spending spree in March 2021 that helped create the worst inflation in 40 years, President Biden spent much of last year pushing for still more spending to fund his vision of an expanded federal government.
“And his 2023 budget is just more of the same.
“The president’s budget would increase average yearly spending by 66 percent as compared to the average of the last 10 years.
“That is a staggering spending increase.
“Yearly federal spending under the Biden budget would average $7.3 trillion.
“To put that in perspective, total federal spending in 2019 was $4.4 trillion.
“And how is the president going to pay for this – if he even can?
“A lot of taxes.
“‘The biggest tax increase in history in dollar terms,’ according to Bloomberg.
“The president, of course, attempts to sell the tax hikes he’s proposing as something that won’t affect ordinary Americans.
“That couldn’t be more wrong.
“That corporate tax hike he keeps pushing?
“One study estimates that 31 percent of the corporate tax is borne by consumers.
“Another big portion of it is borne by labor – otherwise known as ordinary, hardworking Americans.
“Higher prices, fewer jobs, lower salaries … we can expect to see all that and more if the president hikes taxes on companies.
“And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that a corporate tax hike may end up hurting private pensions and the value of Americans’ 401ks.
“Then there are the tax hikes on conventional energy companies – the companies that produce the gas and oil that Americans use to heat their homes and drive their cars.
“Increasing taxes on fossil fuel companies, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars, is pretty much guaranteed to discourage the additional energy production we need to drive down gas prices.
“Ironically, the proposals to go after traditional American energy production come from the same administration that is releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to deal with high gas prices.
“You can’t make this up.
“And then there’s inflation.
“Democrats helped create our current inflation crisis by sending a lot of unnecessary government money into the economy via the so-called American Rescue Plan.
“The president’s budget would essentially do the same thing – which means our already serious inflation crisis could get even worse.
“Mr. President, I mentioned the big spending increases in the president’s budget.
“But what I actually meant are the big non-defense spending increases.
“Because while on paper it may look like the president is hiking defense spending, his supposed funding increase would be effectively canceled out by inflation.
“When you take into account Democrats’ historic inflation, it turns out that President Biden’s supposed defense spending increase could actually turn out to be a spending cut.
“Even in the best-case scenario, his budget would leave defense spending essentially flat, which would leave our military dangerously underfunded.
“That’s a big problem.
“In a rapidly evolving threat environment, the last thing we can afford is a self-inflicted defeat from underfunding our military.
“Given Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine and threats to NATO, an increasingly aggressive China, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, North Korea’s uptick in missile tests, and the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan – among other things – President Biden should be taking national defense spending at least as seriously as domestic spending.
“But he’s not.
“The Biden budget proposal would leave the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force underequipped and undermanned, and put our defense planning on a dangerously insufficient trajectory.
“The president’s budget also fails to adequately address border security and immigration enforcement.
“Almost since the day the president took office, we have been experiencing an unprecedented flood of illegal immigration across our southern border.
“In fiscal year 2021, the Border Patrol encountered more than 1.7 million individuals attempting to cross our southern border – the highest number ever recorded.
“We’ve had 12 straight months of border encounters in excess of 150,000.
“And the surge is likely to get even worse now that the president has rescinded the Title 42 border policy to immediately deport individuals illegally attempting to cross the border.
“And what is the president’s answer?
“Well, a $150 million cut to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement next year, for one thing.
“We’re experiencing an unprecedented surge of illegal immigration, and the president’s budget would cut funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Mr. President, perhaps the most outrageous thing about the president’s budget is the way he misrepresents it.
“He is now trying to portray himself as somewhat fiscally responsible – as if 66 percent higher yearly average spending than the last 10 years could be considered fiscally responsible.
“The president is talking a lot about deficit reduction – both the deficit reduction he has supposedly created and the deficit reduction his budget will supposedly produce.
“But the actual numbers tell a very different story.
“The deficit reduction the president would like to take credit for is partly the result of the end of temporary COVID spending measures – which were scheduled to end whether the president lifted a finger or not.
“And our current deficit would have been a lot lower if the president hadn’t decided that we needed a partisan, $1.9 trillion spending spree last year – a spending spree entirely made up of deficit spending.
“When it comes to the president’s 2023 budget, the administration claims, quote, ‘deficits under the budget policies would fall to less than one-third of the 2020 level the president inherited.’
“The key phrase there, Mr. President, is ‘the 2020 level the president inherited.’
“2020 saw a huge but temporary surge in government spending to deal with the onset of the COVID crisis.
“As a result, it is grossly deceptive to take the 2020 deficit as a baseline.
“A more honest assessment of the prospects for deficit reduction under the president’s budget would look at pre-COVID deficits as a baseline and compare the president’s future deficits to those.
“But that wouldn’t suit the president’s purposes.
“Now that it’s become apparent that the American people are not in fact thrilled by far-left Democrat governance, the president is eager to portray himself as a moderate – hence his inflated claims of deficit reduction.
“It’s the same reason the president is touting his supposed spending hike on national defense – while conveniently omitting the fact that when you figure in real inflation, his spending hike may become a spending cut.
“Mr. President, no matter how the president tries to dress it up, his fiscal year 2023 budget is just more of the same far-left priorities.
“More taxes. More unnecessary spending. And more pain for the American people.
“And I hope my Democrat colleagues will think twice before foisting this budget onto hardworking Americans.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”