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Thune: Americans are Pessimistic About the State of the Union

“I expect that his speech will involve more blame-shifting than solutions to the crises he has helped create – along with, of course, a host of election-year handouts designed to attract voters.”

March 7, 2024

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today spoke on the Senate floor about President Biden’s disastrous three years in office. Thune noted that Biden’s failed policies have resulted in sky-high inflation, a wide-open southern border, and a weakening of America’s energy and national security.

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

“Mr. President, tonight President Biden will come to Congress to deliver his State of the Union Address.

“It’s a natural time to look at the president’s legacy.

“And if one thing is certain, it’s that the Biden presidency hasn’t done much for the state of our union.

“Yesterday I came down to the floor to talk about the national security crisis we’re facing at our southern border.

“It’s a crisis we’ve been facing almost since the day the president took office.

“The president marked his inauguration by taking measures that weakened our nation’s border security, including halting construction of the border wall, rescinding the declaration of a national emergency at our southern border, and pausing deportations except under certain conditions.

“The effect was to declare to the world that the United States’ borders were effectively open.

“And the number of migrant encounters at our southern border ticked up accordingly.

“And the surge has never stopped.

“President Biden has presided over three record-breaking years of illegal immigration at our southern border.

“And if we continue on our current track, he’ll likely be presiding over a fourth.

“The first four months of fiscal year 2024 saw nearly 1 million migrant encounters at our southern border.

One million.

”In just four months.

“These kinds of numbers not only represent a logistical and humanitarian crisis, they represent a gaping hole in our national security.

“There is no question that the kind of numbers we’re seeing smooth the way for dangerous individuals to enter our country.

“Last year, 169 individuals on the terrorist watchlist were apprehended attempting to cross our southern border.

“And we’re on track to exceed that number this year.

“And those numbers only reflect individuals who were actually apprehended.

“With around 1.8 million known gotaways since President Biden took office – and an untold number of unknown gotaways – I think we can safely assume that there are plenty of dangerous people making their way into our country without being stopped.

“And, Mr. President, President Biden’s border crisis is not the only way in which he’s jeopardized our nation’s security.

“His disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan weakened our standing with our allies, and his failure to prioritize ensuring our military is equipped to meet and defeat current and future threats sends a dangerous signal to bad actors around the world.

“Then, of course, there’s the fact that the president is setting us up for a future energy crisis that will jeopardize our nation’s security by jeopardizing our energy supply – not to mention jeopardizing Americans’ pocketbooks.

“The president’s hostility to conventional energy production – and his determination to push us into a Green New Deal regime that our current energy system simply cannot cope with – is setting us up for long-term instability in our nation’s energy supply.

“That threatens our national security, which depends on stable access to energy, and it threatens Americans’ financial security, as an unstable supply will almost unquestionably mean higher energy prices.

“The steep rise in energy prices so far under the Biden administration could look small compared to the energy prices Americans could see under the Green New Deal regime President Biden envisions for the future.

“And speaking of higher prices –

“Mr. President, perhaps the defining feature of the Biden administration is the inflation crisis the president helped create when he signed the so-called American Rescue Plan Act and flooded the economy with unnecessary government spending.

“Three years in, inflation is still well above the Federal Reserve’s target rate.

“And Americans continue to suffer.

“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.

“Grocery prices are up 21 percent under President Biden.

“And 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.

“Then there’s the 31 percent increase in energy costs.

“The 19 percent increase in housing costs.

“The 27 percent increase in the cost of car repairs.

“And the list goes on.

“The president likes to talk about giving American families breathing room.

“Well, Mr. President, President Biden has eliminated breathing room for a lot of American families.

“And along with higher prices – much higher prices – on everything from groceries to gas, Americans are also dealing with the high interest rates the Federal Reserve has had to impose to deal with President Biden’s inflation crisis.

“Those interest rates have helped drive up mortgage rates and credit card rates, compounding economic hardship for a lot of Americans.

“It’s no wonder that in a recent poll just one in three voters said the economy was on the right track.

“Or that 57 percent of respondents in another recent poll rated the economy as ‘fairly bad’ or ‘very bad.’

“Or that 66 percent of respondents in that same poll said that things in America are going ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ badly.

“Mr. President, an inflation crisis. A national security crisis at our southern border. A potential energy crisis.

“It’s no wonder Americans aren’t feeling very optimistic about the state of our union.

“It would be nice if the president spoke to their concerns tonight.

“But I expect that his speech will involve more blame-shifting than solutions to the crises he has helped create – along with, of course, a host of election-year handouts designed to attract voters.

“If Americans are looking for relief, they’re not going to find it from President Biden.

“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”