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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today spoke on the Senate floor about President Biden’s proposed $7 trillion budget. Thune discussed how the president’s budget would shrink the economy, prolong the inflation crisis, and guarantee unsustainable levels of debt.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, inflation numbers for February came out yesterday morning, and they confirmed what every American knows: we are still squarely in the middle of Democrats’ inflation crisis – with no end in sight.
“Overall inflation was up 6 percent in February compared to a year ago – and a staggering 15 percent since President Biden took office.
“Grocery prices were up 10.2 percent in February compared to a year ago – and 20 percent since President Biden took office.
“Electricity prices were up 12.9 percent.
“Utility gas service was up 14.3 percent.
“Rent prices were up 8.8 percent.
“And the list goes on.
“Overall, energy prices have increased by 37.2 percent since President Biden took office.
“And again, there is no end in sight to this crisis.
“Mr. President, digging out of an inflation crisis like this isn’t easy.
“But there are things we can and should be doing to help.
“Restraining government spending.
“Unleashing American energy production to help drive down energy prices.
“Growing the economy.
“These are the things President Biden should be pursuing.
“But as the president’s budget release last week made clear, the president hasn’t learned anything from the past two years.
“President Biden and congressional Democrats helped create our current inflation crisis with their $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan spending spree.
“And what does President Biden have planned?
“More reckless government spending.
“A lot more reckless government spending.
“Mr. President, our last federal budget before the pandemic was in 2019.
“That year, total federal spending was $4.4 trillion.
“Over the last three years, COVID and then Democrats’ profligate spending pushed up the size of the federal budget to levels in excess of $6 trillion.
“But the need for extra COVID dollars is long over, Mr. President.
“And given the economic havoc Democrats’ reckless spending has created, you’d think Democrats would be looking to return the budget to somewhere approaching pre-COVID levels.
“But you’d be wrong.
“President Biden wants to take the inflated budgets of the past three years as his new baseline.
“The president is proposing $6.88 trillion in spending next year, Mr. President – a 54 percent increase over 2019 levels.
“And then he’s proposing to increase spending every year until the federal budget reaches an eye-watering $10 trillion in 2033.
“Again, let me just remind people that the entire federal budget in 2019 was $4.4 trillion.
“President Biden wants to more than double that.
“Mr. President, this level of spending – and the accompanying level of debt – would present a serious danger to our financial stability going forward.
“The president’s budget all but ensures that the size of our national debt would be larger than the size of our economy.
“In other words, we’d owe more money than our entire economy produces.
“And these levels of spending could easily prolong our inflation crisis for years to come.
“But the economic dangers of the president’s budget don’t end there.
“At the same time the president is essentially ensuring an unsustainable level of debt going forward, he’s also planning to load up the economy with $4.7 trillion in tax hikes – and that’s not counting some of the tax hikes that would result from allowing provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to expire.
“He plans to undo much of the good work done by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which helped grow our economy and improve opportunities for American workers.
“Under the Biden tax plan, American businesses would become less competitive in the global economy.
“Investment would be discouraged.
“And Main Street job creators and family-owned businesses would face a higher tax burden, which would make it more difficult for them to grow, expand, and create jobs.
“I said earlier that one of the things we could do to ease our inflation crisis and drive down prices is increase American energy production.
“Well, President Biden’s tax plan would discourage American energy production by hiking taxes on oil and gas companies – and not for the first time during his presidency.
“Instead of lowering energy prices, the president’s tax plan would likely drive them up further.
“Mr. President, the problems with the president’s budget go on and on.
“While the president has no problem driving up spending to a staggering $10 trillion per year by 2033, somehow very little of that money gets put toward priorities like securing the border and defending our nation.
“For next year, the president is proposing an increase in defense spending that fails to keep pace with current levels of inflation – meaning that his supposed defense spending increase would actually be a defense spending cut.
“The Department of Homeland Security would see an outright spending cut next year.
“And despite the security and humanitarian crisis wreaking havoc at our southern border, the president is proposing barely any additional funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement next year.
“But somehow the president manages to find a 15 percent increase in funding for the IRS from its 2023 enacted budget – over and above the $80 billion funding increase the IRS got just last August.
“And it doesn’t stop there.
“The president’s budget would also provide an additional $29 billion to the IRS to ‘continue [Inflation Reduction Act]-funded enforcement and compliance initiatives.’
“I guess the president figures he’ll need more IRS agents to administer all those tax hikes.
“But it’s extremely disturbing that the president’s tax-and-spend agenda is taking precedence over the national security imperative of securing our border.
“Mr. President, President Biden’s budget is the wrong prescription for our country.
“It would shrink our economy, prolong our inflation crisis, and essentially guarantee unsustainable levels of debt.
“The American people have had a rough two years under the Biden administration.
“And the president’s budget would be almost guaranteed to prolong their economic pain well into the future.
“I hope Democrats as well as Republicans will recognize this and quickly consign the president’s budget to the dustbin where it belongs.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”