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Thune: Biden’s Inflation Crisis Hits Hardworking Americans

“[T]he Biden inflation crisis has made life harder for a lot of people. It’s harder to save. Harder to get ahead. Harder to make ends meet.”

February 29, 2024

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today spoke on the Senate floor about the harsh realities families are facing due to President Biden’s self-inflicted inflation crisis. Thune noted that President Biden’s misguided and costly economic policies have forced Americans to grapple with high prices, elevated interest rates, mounting debt, and shrinking savings.

Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):

“Mr. President, yesterday we learned that Leader McConnell – the longest-serving party leader in Senate history – will be stepping down from his leadership role next January.

“There will be time later for a fuller discussion of all his contributions to our party and to this institution, but for today I just want to express my gratitude for his service.

“Had he done nothing else, his successful efforts to build up the judiciary with judges who are committed to the rule of law and to the Constitution would secure his place in the history books.

“And I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve with him.

“Mr. President, three years ago around this time the Senate was considering Democrats’ so-called American Rescue Plan Act.

“With a $1.9 trillion price tag, this reckless spending bill was packed with liberal priorities and progressive giveaways.

“Before it even passed, Democrats were warned that it was too big.

“They were warned even by liberal economists that that kind of spending risked setting off an inflation crisis.

“But they chose to go ahead anyway.

“And inflation almost immediately began accelerating.

“And three years later we’re still dealing with the crisis Democrats helped create.

“Mr. President, in the last three years inflation reached levels not seen since the early 1980s.

“And while inflation may have descended from those stratospheric heights, we are still – still – stuck with an inflation rate well above the Federal Reserve’s target rate of 2 percent.

“And three years of persistent price hikes have taken a serious toll on Americans’ budgets.

“Working families have had to scrimp and save to stretch their dollars.

“Many Americans have had to turn to their credit cards to cope with higher and higher costs.

“And families have had to cut back on saving and investing for the future.

“Mr. President, today it costs a typical family $1,000 more per month to maintain the standard of living it had when President Biden took office.

“$1,000 more per month – just to tread water.

“And it’s no wonder.

“Energy costs are up 31.7 percent.

“Housing costs are up 19.4 percent.

“Car repairs are up 27.5 percent.

“And the list goes on.

“And, Mr. President, where inflation has really hit many Americans is at the grocery store.

“Grocery prices are up 21 percent under President Biden.

“The cost of food now takes up a larger share of Americans’ disposable income than it has at any point in more than 30 years.

“Faced with higher prices, shoppers have had to adjust.

“Families are opting for cheaper alternatives.

“They’re putting items back on the shelves.

“And they’re hunting for deals at multiple stores.

“Tighter budgets have become a fact of life in the Biden economy.

“Mr. President, as I said, many Americans have had to turn to their credit cards to cope with higher prices.

“And with the Federal Reserve having to keep interest rates elevated to fight inflation, paying off that debt has gotten harder.

“High interest rates have also put the American Dream of owning your own home increasingly out of reach.

“The average mortgage rate has more than doubled since the president took office.

“Mr. President, the Biden inflation crisis has made life harder for a lot of people.

“It’s harder to save.

“Harder to get ahead.

“Harder to make ends meet.

“Yet President Biden still tries to claim that his economic policies are working, that the economy is doing well.

“Well, Mr. President, Americans disagree.

“A January poll found that 63 percent of Americans believe economic conditions are getting worse.

“Another poll found that 54 percent of voters rate their personal economic situation as fair or poor.

“And seven out of ten voters in the same poll also said they expect that higher prices are here to stay.

“Mr. President, for the last three years the White House has attempted to disclaim responsibility for the inflation crisis that’s done so much harm to family budgets.

“Despite economists agreeing that the president’s reckless spending led to higher inflation, the White House has taken every opportunity to pin the blame somewhere else.

“Its latest strategy?

“Complaining about ‘shrinkflation’ – which refers to instances where goods have gotten smaller but the price has stayed the same.

“The president even released a video on Super Bowl Sunday lambasting snack companies for shrinking their packaging and ‘rip[ping] off’ consumers.

“It’s a tactic that fits well with the president’s previous attempts to blame price gouging for high prices.

“But these arguments are political spin, not serious explanations.

“Jason Furman, an economist who served in the Obama administration, previously ‘described the focus on price gouging as a distraction from the real causes and solutions [of inflation],’ to quote one article.

“And the New York Times referred to the president’s focus on shrinkflation as ‘a blame-shifting message.’

“Mr. President, I expect we’ll get more blame-shifting from President Biden in the State of the Union address next week – as well as more of the same reckless spending proposals that helped create this crisis in the first place.

“Meanwhile, the American people will continue to suffer.

“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”