U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today spoke on the Senate floor about the glaring disconnect between Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spending spree and the needs of South Dakotans. Thune noted that while Democrats push for a massive expansion of government that will result in historic tax hikes, Republicans will continue to fight against them and work to protect individual liberties. Thune also discussed the impact of inflation on the economy and called out Democrats for misleading the American people about the cost of their radical spending bill.
On rising inflation (excerpts):
“The inflationary impact is being felt all across this country.
“Energy costs are up, gasoline costs are up by huge amounts, food costs are up in this country, housing costs are up.
“There isn't hardly any area of our economy where people aren't being impacted by inflation, meaning that the dollars that they earn are stretching less further all the time.
“And that is not a fake thing. It's not a temporary thing. It's a real thing, [and] people are experiencing it in their economic lives on a daily basis.”
“If you put more dollars out there, which is what's being talked about by our Democrat colleagues, another $3.5 trillion that would flood the economy, I think the expectation is a very real one that you're going to see that inflationary pressure accelerate [and] intensify because when you have got that much money, that many dollars chasing too few of goods, inflation is an inevitable result.
“And the idea that we need to spend another $3.5 trillion and that somehow that's going to be a solution right now also is not consistent at all with the facts and the data.”
On Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spending spree (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, the Biden border crisis continues unabated.
“In August, U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered 208,887 people attempting to illegally cross our southern border – a 318 percent increase from August of 2020.
“For context, that number is bigger than the population of Sioux Falls, South Dakota – the largest city in my home state.
“Mr. President, at this point “crisis” is too mild a description.
“Things at the border are out of control.
“And there’s little to suggest that things will improve anytime soon, as the Biden administration continues to permit an influx of migrant entries and has sought to install appointees who have lax views about enforcing our immigration laws.
“In yet another sign of how bad things are, dozens of National Guard members from South Dakota recently deployed to our southern border.
“I know these South Dakotans are always ready to serve whenever and wherever they are needed, and I am grateful for their service.
“Mr. President, you’d think the border crisis would be at the top of Democrats’ priority list here in Washington.
“But you’d be wrong.
“In fact, the border crisis seems like barely a blip on Democrats’ radar.
“And it’s not the only crisis they’re ignoring.
“Our national security situation has taken a giant step backward with the president’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal and the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
“And here at home inflation is rapidly becoming a serious and long-term problem.
“Americans’ purchasing power is shrinking as they have to stretch their paychecks to cover increases in everything from the price of groceries to the price of gas.
“But none of that really seems to matter to Democrats.
“Their main priority seems to be forcing through a $3.5 trillion, partisan tax-and-spending spree that would permanently expand the reach of government into Americans’ lives.
“Mr. President, where to start when it comes to Democrats’ tax-and-spending spree?
“There are the tax hikes that would put American businesses at a disadvantage on the global stage and shrink jobs and opportunities for American workers.
“There’s the death tax expansion that could put a lot of family farms and businesses in jeopardy.
“There are the major new entitlements – free college, free preschool, subsidized daycare, paid leave.
“One of our major existing entitlement programs, Medicare, is rapidly heading toward insolvency, yet instead of shoring up this program, Democrats are expanding entitlements and putting the government on the hook for an unsustainable level of spending.
“Then there are items that get less attention but are just as troubling.
“Mr. President, traditionally in the United States individuals have picked the winners and losers through the free market.
“But the more you insert government into economic and family life, the more government ends up being the one making the decisions.
“Government ends up picking the winners and losers.
“Take Democrats’ child care benefit.
“A 2020 Bipartisan Policy Center survey found that among working families who used center-based child care, 53 percent used a faith-based center.
“But now Democrats are coming in with their child care subsidies and in the process changing decades-old child care funding programs to favor secular child care providers who provide care at day care centers.
“So if you’re one of the 53 percent who chooses a faith-based provider for your child, you could be out of luck – not because you’ve changed your child-care preferences, but simply because Democrats have set up their benefit to favor secular, center-based child care providers.
“And Democrats are repeating this pattern of picking winners and losers throughout their bill.
“Labor unions win under this bill.
“Democrats have included a special benefit that would expressly allow union members to deduct their union dues on their taxes.
“Meanwhile, non-union workers can expect to pay their usual tax bills.
“You only get special privileges if you’re a union member.
“It’s not clear why the 90 percent of American workers who don’t belong to a union should subsidize the dues of those who do.
“But I guess Democrats want to make sure they get those union votes come election time.
“And of course that’s not the bill’s only benefit for unions.
“There’s funding for electronic voting systems for union elections.
“And incentives to purchase an electric car from a union factory.
“Unions of course are not the only winner.
“Electric vehicle manufacturers, for one, also win.
“The bill clearly endorses electric vehicles as the climate change solution for the transportation sector.
“Other clean energy technologies – notably biofuels – take a back seat in this bill.
“Mr. President, I could go on all day when it comes to the spending priorities in this bill.
“Like the fact that the bill dedicates more than $200 million – $200 million – to urban agriculture.
“Mr. President, I’m not saying that you can’t have a garden if you live in a city.
“But urban gardens are never going to produce the volume of food needed to feed our country.
“And anyone who thinks they will doesn’t know much about agriculture … which may be the problem.
“Democrats’ tax-and-spending spree reads like the product of too much socialist daydreaming and not enough time spent learning about how things like agriculture, energy, and economies actually work.
“Speaking of which, I haven’t mentioned the Democrats’ tree-equity measure.
“Yes. Tree equity.
“Democrats have allotted $3 billion prioritized for what they were recently referring to as tree equity.
“Mr. President, I support – and encourage – planting trees.
“But I don’t think the federal government can afford to spend $3 billion on tree equity.
“Especially when Democrats are planning to spend $200 million– yes, $200 million – for a park in House Speaker Pelosi’s district that features luxury housing and a golf course.
“And provide tax benefits for Ivy League universities and other well-funded colleges – including a new tax credit for higher education institutions for teaching “environmental justice” programs.
“Then there are the tax credits for electric bicycles – bicycles that can cost up to $8,000.
“It may just be me, but if you can afford an $8,000 bicycle, I’m not sure you need a tax credit for it from the federal government.
“Then of course Democrats are planning to provide billions of dollars to fund a Civilian Climate Corps to provide government jobs for climate activists.
“And $20 billion for the creation of a National Climate Bank to fund Democrats’ pet environmental projects.
“And the list goes on. And on.
“Mr. President, the more you read Democrats’ bill – with its massive expansion of government, its historic tax hikes, and its payoffs to liberal constituencies – the more you realize that there is pretty much no area of life that Democrats think wouldn’t be better run by the federal government.
“But my fellow Republicans and I still believe in a vibrant private sector – and in the right of individuals and families to run their lives as they see fit.
“And so we will continue to oppose Democrats’ socialist spending spree and continue to fight to secure a future of prosperity, opportunity, and freedom for each and every American.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”