U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed how the Democrats’ plan to double down on their failed policies and pass their reckless tax-and-spending spree would worsen the already record-high inflation and continue to hurt families in South Dakota.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, the latest inflation numbers came out on Friday, and the news was not good.
“Inflation is currently at its highest level in nearly 40 years.
“The last time inflation was this bad, E.T. and Rocky III were in theaters, and the Packers were being coached by Bart Starr.
“Mr. President, high inflation is taking a major toll on American families.
“Gas prices are at a seven-year high.
“The price of used cars and trucks is up 31 percent.
“Propane, kerosene, and firewood are up 34 percent.
“Food prices have increased significantly.
“Ground beef is up 14 percent.
“Apples are up 7.4 percent.
“Pork is up 17 percent.
“Eggs are up 8 percent.
“Baby food is up 6.7 percent.
“Bacon and related products are up 21 percent.
“And the list continues.
“Mr. President, rent prices are up.
“Utility prices are up.
“Furniture prices are up.
“And on and on.
“Inflation is so bad that despite wage growth this year, Americans have seen a de facto pay cut, with real average hourly earnings down 1.9 percent for the year.
“Mr. President, inflation is what happens when you have too many dollars chasing too few goods and services.
“And a big reason for our current inflation situation is Democrats’ decision to pour a lot of unnecessary government money into the economy earlier this year – despite being warned that their partisan $1.9 trillion ‘American Rescue Plan’ spending spree could stoke inflation.
“And you don’t have to take my word for it.
“Here’s what former Obama economic adviser Jason Furman had to say recently when discussing our inflation problem: ‘The original sin was an oversized American Rescue Plan. It contributed to both higher output but also higher prices.’
“That quote from Mr. Furman appeared in a New York Times article that also noted, and I quote, ‘But some economists, including veterans of previous Democratic administrations, say much of Mr. Biden’s inflation struggle is self-inflicted. Lawrence H. Summers is one of those who say the stimulus bill the president signed in March gave too much of a boost to consumer spending … Mr. Summers, who served in the Obama and Clinton administrations, says inflation now risks spiraling out of control and other Democratic economists agree there are risks.’
“Mr. President, inflation is spiraling out of control.
“And Democrats are preparing to throw more fuel on the fire.
“Democrats are preparing to double down on the strategy that helped get us in this mess in the first place and pass ANOTHER massive government spending bill.
“I’m not sure whether Democrats simply don’t care about the inflation situation facing American families, or whether they’re operating under the delusion that they can somehow pass another major government spending bill without serious consequences for our economy.
“Regardless, there’s no question that pouring another $1.75 trillion in government money into the economy would likely make our inflation crisis even worse.
“Mr. President, I say $1.75 trillion, because that’s what Democrats have been selling as the price tag for their so-called Build Back Better plan.
“But as we learned on Friday from the Congressional Budget Office’s latest analysis, Democrats’ spending spree would far exceed $1.75 trillion.
“When you take away the shell games and budget gimmicks, Democrats’ spending spree would cost almost $5 trillion.
“And of course the tax hikes in Democrats’ plan, as large as they are, would not even come close to funding that amount.
“Democrats’ Build Back Better proposal – if implemented over 10 years as they plan – would add an eye-watering $3 trillion to our national debt.
“It turns out that Build Back Better is more like Build Back Bankrupt.
“Mr. President, Democrats have attempted to disguise the true cost of their Build Back Bankrupt plan by strategically sunsetting various provisions before the end of the bill’s 10-year budget window.
“Of course Democrats have never had any intention of actually sunsetting these provisions.
“But by claiming that they are going to sunset these measures, they have been able to – sort of – disguise the fact that their spending spree would actually cost nearly $5 trillion.
“Now Democrats are implicitly admitting that they plan to extend these programs but are saying that people shouldn’t worry – that the cost of extensions will be offset.
“I’d like to know how exactly they plan to do that.
“With massive new tax hikes – on top of the tax hikes they’ve already included in their bill?
“Just how many tax hikes do Democrats think our economy can handle?
“And if Democrats had a plan for future offsets, why didn’t they include those offsets in their bill in the first place, along with an honest accounting of the length of their programs?
“Is it because they thought the American people would balk if they knew the true cost of the bill?
“That they might not be crazy about the idea of a bill that would cost them $5 trillion?
“Mr. President, I am hard-pressed to think of anything more irresponsible than for Democrats to pass their Build Back Better – or Build Back Bankrupt – measure right now.
“Inflation is soaring – and there’s no clear end in sight.
“We’re emerging from a pandemic that required a lot of government expenditure – and a corresponding increase in our debt.
“And we have no idea what government money might be needed down the road.
“Passing a $5 trillion spending spree – that would add $3 trillion to our national debt – is the very last thing we should be doing.
“I hope that at least some of my Democrat colleagues will think better of their spending plans before the American people are forced to discover just what building back bankrupt is like.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”