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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed how the Democrats’ devotion to their big-government, big-spending agenda has harmed America’s economic security, energy security, and national security. Thune noted that over the past two years, President Biden and Democrats in Congress have prioritized far-left fantasies instead of addressing the economic reality that is crippling families and businesses across the country.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, yesterday I came down to the floor to talk about where we are after nearly two years of Democrat control of Congress and the White House.
“We are, as I noted, in the midst of an inflation crisis with no end in sight.
“Our economy is weakening.
“Our energy security has diminished.
“Violent crime has increased.
“And we’re dealing with record waves of illegal immigration and a serious security situation at our southern border.
“That’s where we are, Mr. President.
“But how did we end up here?
“The answer lies with Democrats’ priorities.
“Mr. President, the Democrat Party has moved sharply leftwards over the past few years.
“Democrats, of course, have always been on the left side of the political spectrum.
“But over the past few years, what was once far-left ideology has become the Democrat mainstream.
“And Democrats swept into office determined to enact a far-left, big-government agenda.
“It didn’t matter to them that their majorities in the House and Senate were extremely narrow – or that President Biden had been elected largely because he was considered to be a moderate.
“Democrats had a grip on power, however tenuous, and they were determined to use it to enact their most cherished far-left fantasies.
“They started off with their $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, filled with unnecessary spending and payoffs to Democrat interest groups.
“They were warned that their legislation ran the risk of overheating the economy and setting off inflation.
“But they ignored the warnings and dumped a lot of unnecessary government money into the economy.
“And the economy overheated as a result.
“Inflation quickly began climbing. And then climbing some more.
“Now, at this point, it might have seemed prudent to pull back on the spending plans.
“After all, if one massive spending bill had kicked off inflation, how much worse would another, even-more-massive spending bill make the situation?
“But Democrats were just getting started.
“The ink was barely dry on the so-called American Rescue Plan Act before Democrats were outlining plans for a new spending spree – one that would dwarf their initial spending spree and install some of Democrats’ most-cherished big-government priorities.
“And even as inflation climbed and climbed again, Democrats kept pushing ahead.
“Even as Democrat economists warned that the American Rescue Plan had kickstarted inflation, Democrats kept pushing forward with plans for a $5 trillion spending spree – their so-called Build Back Better plan.
“To put that number in perspective, the entire federal budget in 2019 was $4.4 trillion.
‘The ENTIRE federal budget.
“And yet Democrats were pushing forward with a $5 trillion spending plan ON TOP OF a $1.9 trillion spending bill earlier in the year.
“Fortunately for the American people, Democrats’ $5 trillion spending plan was foiled last December.
“But that didn’t stop them for long.
“Even as inflation reached 40-year highs, Democrats kept pushing for more spending.
“And they managed to jam through another partisan tax-and-spending spree in August.
“Mr. President, we have now spent six straight months – six straight months – with inflation above 8 percent.
“The last time inflation was this bad I wasn’t even married yet.
“Now I have grandchildren.
“But Democrats just don’t seem to care.
“They are committed to their tax-and-spending agenda, regardless of the consequences for the American economy.
“Their August tax-and-spending spree will hurt both wages and economic growth – at a time when economic growth is weakening and Americans are experiencing a de facto pay cut thanks to inflation.
“And just days after signing this tax-and-spending legislation into law, President Biden announced a massive student loan giveaway, which could cost more than $1 trillion and will, to quote the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, ‘meaningfully boost inflation.’
“Yet again, Democrats’ big-government, big-spending agenda trumps the economic reality facing the American people.
“No matter how bad the economy gets, Democrats are determined to enact their big-government vision.
“And I suspect the reason that Democrats and the president have spent nearly two years ignoring the raging crisis at our southern border is similar.
“After all, if Democrats and the president acknowledge there’s a crisis, people might think that they should actually start solving the crisis.
“They might, in fact, think that a raging security crisis deserves to be a priority – more of a priority than, say, Democrats’ plans for electric postal vehicles or monitoring gaps in tree canopy coverage.
“In addition, of course, acknowledging that there’s a border crisis might offend some Democrat interest groups – and that might imperil Democrats’ fierce determination to stay in power and enact their big-government agenda.
“Mr. President, I mention Democrats’ fierce determination to stay in power – and it is fierce.
“So fierce that Democrats manufactured a voting crisis – and almost succeeded in gutting the Senate’s rules – in an attempt to force through federal legislation that would give their party an advantage in future elections.
“And it clearly doesn’t matter to them that their claims of voter suppression were pretty clearly refuted by excellent election turnout mere months later.
“Democrats are still talking about forcing through a federal takeover of elections to address a nonexistent crisis – and give their party a leg-up in future elections.
“Mr. President, I guess it’s not necessarily surprising that Democrats’ growing commitment to the biggest kind of big government has been matched by a growing determination to secure their party’s grip on power – with government action if necessary.
“As government power grows, I suppose the governing party starts to think its power should grow with it.
“It would explain Democrats’ commitment to abolishing protections for the rights of the minority party in the Senate – and the Americans it represents.
“And the commitment expressed by a number of Democrats to packing the Supreme Court – expanding it with Democrat justices until Democrats can be sure they will get the outcomes they want.
“Leading Democrats have been openly crowing about their plans to abolish the filibuster if they manage to gain a sufficient majority in the Senate – and then force through a variety of far-left, big-government legislation, from a government takeover of child care, to that voting bill they think will give them a leg-up in elections, to some of the most extreme abortion legislation in the world.
“Clearly a raging border crisis, an inflation crisis, a weakening economy, and growing energy insecurity mean little to Democrats.
“Their focus if they keep their majority is not on solving these very real problems facing Americans – it’s on growing government and implementing their far-left, big-government, big-spending visions.
“Mr. President, Democrats’ big-government vision is clearly not a vision I share.
“And despite Democrats’ clear belief that their narrow majorities gave them a mandate for a far-left remake of our government, I suspect the American people are not looking for that.
“Democrats may think months and months and months of high inflation are a small price to pay for implementing their big-government visions.
“I suspect the American people disagree.
“I also think the American people would like to see the party in power focused on solving problems like violent crime and the crisis at our southern border – not spending their time considering how to consolidate their hold on power or force through extreme and partisan policies.
“And despite Democrats’ clear belief that Washington should be making decisions about most aspects of Americans’ lives, I suspect that most Americans are not interested in having Washington dictate their choices – whether that’s the choices they make about their child care or about their children’s education.
“Democrats’ devotion to their big-government, big-spending agenda has left the American people worse off economically and left our country in a more dangerous position, from violent crime in our communities to the security crisis at our southern border.
“I think the American people know with painful certainty that we can’t afford another two years like the last two.
“And for the sake of our country, I hope we won’t have to see what two more years of Democrat power would bring.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”