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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed how, under President Biden’s leadership, Democrats’ failed policies and reckless spending have helped create significant economic and security challenges that are impacting South Dakotans. Thune noted that it’s time for President Biden to acknowledge the realities of his out-of-touch agenda and address the many crises that have unfolded during his presidency.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, last week Congress successfully passed legislation – the Fiscal Responsibility Act – to raise the debt ceiling and avert a default.
“And I am pleased that the final legislation paired an increase in the debt ceiling with real spending reforms.
“But I don’t need to tell anyone that things came down to the wire.
“President Biden wasted months refusing to negotiate on a debt ceiling deal before finally yielding to the political realities of divided government and coming to the negotiating table.
“And while we got about as good of an agreement as we could have hoped for in this situation – again, including meaningful spending reforms that Democrats initially rejected – things did not need to come to a crisis point.
“Had President Biden come to the negotiating table sooner, we might not have been passing the Fiscal Responsibility Act just days before our nation would have defaulted.
“And, Mr. President, this isn’t the first crisis of inaction in his presidency.
“President Biden has made a habit of ignoring or failing to meet crisis situations – with predictably problematic results.
“The border crisis is one notable example.
“It took two years of record-breaking numbers of illegal crossings at our southern border before the president made any real move to even begin to address the crisis.
“Two years in which he mostly pretended that the border crisis didn’t even exist.
“The president didn’t want there to be a border crisis – presumably because he knew that it would serve as an indictment of his open-border policies – and so he simply ignored the reality.
“Unfortunately, Border Patrol agents and our nation’s overwhelmed border communities didn’t have that option.
“They have had to spend two-plus years dealing with all the ramifications of unchecked illegal immigration at our southern border.
“And while it’s a good thing that the president has finally made some moves to address the crisis, his inaction has taken a terrible toll on Border Patrol agents and our border communities – and on migrants themselves.
“Mr. President, we’ve seen a similar situation with inflation.
“Even as it became clear that Democrats’ so-called American Rescue Plan Act had helped set off a serious inflation crisis, the president and his administration dismissed the problem.
“And they didn’t just dismiss the problem.
“They doubled down on the strategy that got our country into this mess in the first place.
“And while the president was eventually forced to at least halfheartedly acknowledge our inflation crisis, he still can’t bring himself to acknowledge what caused it – Democrats’ big-spending policies.
“And he has continued to pursue new government spending – from his nearly trillion-dollar student loan giveaway to a budget that in a few short years would have us spending $10 trillion annually.
“Mr. President, perhaps the most devastating example of the president’s failure to recognize – and act on – the realities of a situation came with his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Even as it was becoming appallingly clear that Afghanistan was headed for takeover by the Taliban, the president delayed – or simply failed to take – the necessary steps to withdraw American citizens and the Afghan allies who aided us.
“The result was a chaotic evacuation that saw the deaths of 13 U.S. servicemembers and scores of Afghan civilians – and left both U.S. citizens and thousands of our Afghan allies behind as the Taliban took over the country.
“Mr. President, it is fortunate that the months President Biden spent refusing to acknowledge the need to negotiate on a debt ceiling agreement did not result in serious consequences for our country.
“Things were not looking good for a while, but the president ultimately recognized that divided government requires negotiation and compromise.
“But a lot of his other leadership failures have had serious – and permanent – consequences.
“The president’s failure to acknowledge and address the reality of the border crisis has allowed hundreds of thousands of individuals to evade law enforcement and enter our country illegally, left border communities and American cities struggling to provide for the massive influx of migrants, and undoubtedly facilitated the flow of cross-border criminal activity like fentanyl trafficking.
“And, as I said, the president’s failure to recognize and acknowledge the reality of the situation in Afghanistan, including by ignoring the State Department dissent cable, resulted in the deaths of American servicemembers and Afghan civilians.
“Meanwhile, the president’s persistent failure to fully recognize the realities of inflation – and its root in Democrats’ reckless spending – continues to leave our economy, and American families, vulnerable to more of Democrats’ big-spending policies.
“Mr. President, there are around 18 months left in the president’s current term, and a lot of challenges for our nation to address.
“I hope the debt ceiling negotiations mark the start of a new era – one in which the president spends more time dealing with things as they are and less time pursuing an agenda divorced from the reality of the economic and security challenges our nation faces.
“Because our country – and the American people – cannot afford a repeat of the first two years of the president’s administration.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”