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U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today spoke on the Senate floor about President Biden’s State of the Union address. Thune noted that over the past year, President Biden and Democrats in Congress have pursued a reckless, partisan agenda instead of addressing the multiple crises their policies have created.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, last night President Biden delivered his State of the Union address.
“And while the president tried to put a positive spin on things, the truth of the matter is that the United States is not thriving under Democrat control.
“On the economic front, of course, Americans are struggling under the burden of the worst inflation in 40 years.
“There are Americans raising families today who had not yet been born the last time inflation was this bad.
“Under Democrat control, Americans have seen their standard of living decline as they face massive increases in the price of basic necessities, from groceries to gas.
“Inflation is so bad that despite wage increases in 2021, Americans saw a de facto pay cut.
“Mr. President, after months of ignoring soaring inflation numbers, the president and congressional Democrats have at last been forced to start talking about inflation.
“But unfortunately it’s become clear they still don’t understand why this inflation disaster happened – and how their massive government spending spree, the so-called American Rescue Plan Act, helped create this crisis.
“‘… the American Rescue Plan helped working people – and left no one behind,’ the president said in his speech last night. ‘… it worked.’
“Mr. President, if President Biden believes that, I have some oceanfront property in South Dakota to sell him.
“The truth of the matter is that working Americans are struggling right now in large part due to the American Rescue Plan Act.
“The American Rescue Plan Act was not a targeted COVID relief bill – it was a massive, unnecessary spending spree that sent too much government money into the economy.
“And, predictably, the economy overheated as a result.
“While I’m glad Democrats are starting to acknowledge our inflation crisis, it would be nice to see them recognize how it actually came about – and commit to not repeating their mistakes in the future.
“Mr. President, inflation is not the only domestic crisis we’ve been facing on Democrats’ watch.
“Our nation is also experiencing a border crisis that has resulted in a security, enforcement, and humanitarian nightmare.
“Almost from the day the president took office, we’ve seen a massive surge in attempted illegal immigration across our southern border.
“And there’s no end in sight.
“In January, the Border Patrol encountered more than 150,000 individuals illegally trying to cross our southern border – the highest January number in more than 20 years.
“And these numbers of course only reflect individuals the Border Patrol has been able to apprehend.
“A Department of Homeland Security official recently stated that more than 200,000 individuals have successfully evaded apprehension since October and have disappeared into our country.
“More than 200,000 individuals.
“It’s not surprising, Mr. President.
“The Border Patrol is stretched thin and lacks sufficient resources to deal with this never-ending border surge.
“But it is deeply concerning.
“These are 200,000 people entering our country without any security check or vetting, raising the risk of drug traffickers, criminals, or even terrorists finding their way into our communities.
“But perhaps the most concerning thing is that a full year after this massive surge began, the president generally continues to act as if this border crisis doesn’t exist.
“He’s apparently unaware of – or can’t be bothered to deal with – the real security risk this represents for our country.
“The president did allude to securing the border last night – something he does periodically – but given his track record, I’m not holding my breath.
“And when it comes to the world stage, things are little better.
“The president’s first year in office was distinguished by his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, which weakened our national security, diminished our standing with our allies, and resulted in our abandoning thousands of Afghans who had worked with us and whom we had promised to protect.
“Currently, we’re facing another international crisis – Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
“And while this is a crisis of Vladimir Putin’s making, President Biden was slow to move weapons and resisted imposing sanctions before Russia attacked.
“I hope that in the days to come, the president will stand strong against Russian aggression and not hesitate to impose any additional sanctions that may be necessary to isolate Putin and his cronies and halt the Russian advance.
“Mr. President, as I said, the United States is not thriving under Democrat control.
“And a big reason for that is because the president and congressional Democrats have had one thing on their mind since taking office – implementing a wide-ranging, far-left, socialist agenda.
“Democrats’ lack of leadership on the big issues facing our country and our world has been striking – and I think the truth is that Democrats have seen those big issues as distractions from their real goal in taking office: implementing that far-left agenda.
“While inflation spiked and then spiked again, Democrats were AWOL.
“They were focused on passing a massive tax-and-spending spree that would unquestionably make our inflation problem even worse.
“And then when that failed, they turned their focus to a federal takeover of election law that they hoped would give them an advantage in the November elections.
“This week, as Vladimir Putin continued to pursue his apparent dream of reconstituting the Soviet Union by pushing further into Ukraine, Democrats took a vote on legislation to remove virtually all state-level restrictions on abortion.
“That was the big vote this week.
“Legislation to remove nearly every state-level restriction on abortion.
“Despite the fact, I might add, that the majority of the American people support restrictions on abortion.
“But that doesn’t matter to Democrats.
“If the Planned Parenthood wing of the party wants a vote on unrestricted abortion on demand, that’s what it gets.
“In yet another example of just how far the Democrat Party has run to the left – and just how disconnected Democrats have become – last week John Kerry, who serves as President Biden’s climate chief, expressed his hope that war with Ukraine would be averted because of the carbon emissions such a war would create and how the war might distract from climate change.
“At the time of his remarks Russia was on the verge of invading a sovereign nation – and possibly condemning an entire country to Soviet oppression – and a key member of the president’s administration was worried about how the war might distract from climate change.
“Mr. President, I’m a longtime supporter of clean energy, but we have a big problem when members of our country’s leadership are looking at the imperialist takeover of a sovereign nation and their biggest concern is not human life and human freedom, but carbon emissions.
“But it’s another sign of just how ideological the Democrat Party has become.
“Nothing is allowed to come between the Democrat Party and its far-left agenda.
“Mr. President, President Biden made some nods toward bipartisanship last night.
“But it remains to be seen whether Democrats and the president are capable of setting aside their far-left agenda to address the priorities facing this country.
“Given some of the measures the president proposed last night, I have my doubts.
“But I hope for the sake of our nation that Democrats will rethink their ever-more-rigid allegiance to the far left and work with Republicans in a bipartisan fashion.
“The American people deserve better than what Democrats have given them over the past year.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”