Click here to watch the video.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed how the Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spending spree has created an economy that is making life harder for working families. Thune noted that our country continues to be in a period of historically high inflation – largely because of Democrats’ big-government, big-spending agenda – in which families are continuing to struggle with high grocery bills, high energy bills, and high rent prices.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, this morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the August inflation numbers.
“And as every American who has been to a grocery store lately knows, August was yet another month of high inflation.
“Consumer prices rose 8.3 percent last month from a year earlier, holding near a four-decade high.
“And Americans are feeling the strain.
“Mr. President, even one unexpectedly expensive month can be challenging for many families.
“But at least it’s usually possible to recover from a single tough month.
“How are American families going to recover from the months upon months upon months of high inflation that have marked the Biden economy?
“Mr. President, as I said, American families are suffering.
“Grocery bills are out of control.
“Between August 2021 and August 2022, grocery bills rose at their highest rate since 1979.
“Even back-to-school supplies like pencils and glue are more expensive.
“The National Retail Federation reported in July that households were on track to spend an average of $864 on back-to-school shopping – a 24 percent increase from 2019.
“Utility bills have soared.
“Things have gotten so bad that approximately one out of every six households – one out of every six households – is behind on its utility bills.
“Unfortunately, considering the increases in the price of natural gas and electricity since President Biden took office, it’s not surprising.
“Forty percent of households – 40 percent – report having difficulty paying for their normal household expenses.
“And Gallup reports that 56 percent of Americans – well over half of the U.S. population – are experiencing financial hardship as a result of inflation.
“The personal savings rate has plunged to its lowest level since 2009, and many Americans are dipping into their savings to make ends meet.
“Others have taken up a side job, or are pulling out the credit card.
“Still others have been forced to rely on food banks.
“Mr. President, as recently as Friday, President Biden was touting his work to, quote, ‘finally deliver an economy that works for working families.’
“I have to say, I don’t know what ivory tower the president is living in, but the Biden economy is the very opposite of an economy that works for working families.
“Working families in the Biden economy are struggling.
“They’re wondering how they can make ends meet.
“They’re cutting back on groceries like meat or milk.
“They’re cutting back on family trips or putting off making necessary home repairs.
“They are, as I said, dipping into their savings, or charging necessities on their credit cards, or visiting food banks.
“A recent CBS News article discussing a new Gallup poll noted, and I quote, ‘The findings indicate that the hottest inflation in 40 years is eating into the bedrock of the American economy — the middle-class — and even eroding the financial stability of more well-heeled households.’
“‘The findings indicate that the hottest inflation in 40 years is eating into the bedrock of the American economy — the middle-class …’
“This is not an economy that’s, to paraphrase the president, being built from the bottom up and the middle out.
“This is not an economy that ‘works for working families.’
“This is an economy where living standards for working families are declining.
“Mr. President, the president has actually had the audacity to repeatedly bring up the lines of cars waiting at food banks that occurred during the height of the COVID pandemic – with the implication that things are different now in the Biden economy.
“Perhaps no one in the White House has read the news recently.
“Here’s a sampling of headlines from the past few weeks:
“‘Las Vegas food banks experiencing heightened demand amid inflation spikes’
“‘Food banks feeling pinch of high inflation as centers juggle increased demand for help’
“‘New Hampshire food pantries struggle with rising costs, growing demand: Organizations say more people than ever need help’
“‘St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix sees record number of families in need amid inflation’
“‘Mountain West food banks are strained by high customer demand and low supply’
“And unfortunately I could go on.
“Mr. President, at this point, everyone knows how we got here.
“Democrats took office and decided to pass a massive, $1.9 trillion spending bill, the so-called American Rescue Plan Act, that flooded the economy with unnecessary government money.
“And the economy overheated as a result.
“Democrats were warned – including by at least one noted economist from their own party – that their legislation ran the risk of overheating the economy.
“But they were committed to taking advantage of their new majority to push through their big-government, big-spending vision.
“And so they ignored the warnings.
“And their bill helped trigger the worst inflation crisis in 40 years.
“But perhaps the worst part is that even after Democrats saw the damage that resulted from their American Rescue Plan spending spree, they continued to try to double down on the spending strategy that helped get us into this mess in the first place.
“Democrats spent half of last year attempting to force through another partisan spending spree originally planned to cost up to $5 trillion.
“Fortunately for Americans, those particular far-left fantasies were foiled.
“But that hasn’t stopped Democrats from continuing to accumulate wasteful government spending.
“In August Democrats forced through a partisan tax-and-spending bill that will raise Americans’ energy bills, reduce jobs and opportunities for American workers, and waste taxpayer dollars on a host of Green New Deal priorities like electric vehicle tax credits for wealthy Americans and road equity and identifying gaps in tree canopy coverage.
“They’ve called this tax-and-spending spree the Inflation Reduction Act – even though, as even the DEMOCRAT chairman of the Senate Budget Committee admitted, the bill will not reduce inflation.
“Apparently the title’s only function is to make the bill sound more acceptable to Americans who are sick and tired of dealing with soaring prices and economic pain.
“Then a mere eight days after signing the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, the president once again added to Democrats’ record of economic malfeasance with a massive student loan giveaway that could cost more than $1 trillion – and that the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget notes will, quote, “meaningfully boost inflation.”
“‘… meaningfully boost inflation.’
“Mr. President, I’m not sure whether Democrats are incapable of learning their lesson, or whether they consider soaring prices to be a trivial issue next to implementing their Green New Deal agenda, or whether they think inflation is an acceptable price to pay for big government.
“But whatever it is, Democrats are apparently going to continue to ignore the economic pain Americans are experiencing in favor of implementing their far-left, big-government, big-spending agenda.
“And it appears that the American people are going to have to continue to suffer as a result.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”