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Three Years In, Are We Better Off?

By Sen. John Thune

January 19, 2024

As he begins his fourth year in office, President Biden’s approval rating has fallen to a new low. It’s not hard to figure out why. Inflation, spurred by Democrats’ excessive government spending, has strained working families’ budgets. The southern border has been in a state of crisis since the president rolled back border security policies at the beginning of his administration. And we have seen the consequences of the United States failing to demonstrate strength on the world stage as it has grown increasingly unstable. To put it simply, the Biden administration has harmed our economy, our national security, and our standing in the world.

At the beginning of his term, President Biden and Democrats passed a reckless $1.9 trillion spending bill disguised as COVID relief despite warnings that it could cause inflation. Since that bill passed, Americans have faced higher prices for just about everything from groceries to gas, and it now costs a typical family $11,400 more per year just to maintain the standard of living they enjoyed three years ago.

Paying more and getting less has become the hallmark of the Biden economy. And it’s not just higher bills. The higher interest rates that the Federal Reserve was forced to put in place to help rein in the Biden inflation crisis has meant more expensive mortgages. Combined with higher home prices, this has eroded prospective homebuyers’ purchasing power and put the American dream of owning your own home increasingly out of reach for a lot of hardworking Americans.

For three years now, the crisis at our southern border has grown worse and worse. Customs and Border Protection has had more than 7 million encounters with illegal immigrants trying to cross the border since the president took office. Millions have been let into the country under our broken and overwhelmed asylum and parole systems. And an alarming number of individuals on the terrorist watch list, criminals, and gang members have been stopped at the border. Yet the president still refuses to acknowledge there is a crisis.

Before President Biden took office, his team was warned of the possibility of a migrant surge should he roll back the prior administration’s policies. Nevertheless, the president immediately went about weakening our border security, and the surge came. And while I’m glad that after three years of chaos, the president has finally – finally – agreed to work with Republicans on some policies to actually secure the border, this crisis was avoidable.

Highlighted by the disastrous and tragic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden administration has also failed to demonstrate American strength abroad. Strong national defense often deters threats to the United States from materializing in the first place. In a dangerous world like ours, we can’t afford for defense policy to be divorced from reality. Yet under President Biden, we have seen multiple conflicts erupt, some directly involving U.S. forces, all while adversaries like China ramp up their military investment.

Rest assured, my Republican colleagues and I are doing all we can to fight the disastrous policies that are creating these crises and mitigate the damage from the Biden administration. We’re working to rein in the spending impulses of the president and his Democrat allies in Congress. We’re working on policies that will substantially improve border security. And we’ve worked to secure steady investments in our defense capabilities. But we can only do so much without presidential leadership, and it’s long past time for the president to face reality and start working with us to get this country back on track.