U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed how Democrats have prioritized their reckless tax-and-spending spree over addressing the numerous crises they have created, which are impacting families in South Dakota and across the country. Thune noted that Democrats’ latest proposal would significantly increase the size of the federal government and expand its reach into Americans’ lives.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, we’re coming up on a year of Democrat governance here in Washington.
“And what do Democrats have to show for it?
“On the international front, the president’s most significant act was his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, which lowered our standing with our allies and continues to jeopardize our national security.
“On the domestic front, Democrats have largely ignored a massive crisis along our southern border that continues to rage.
“And then, Mr. President, there’s inflation.
“You might call it Democrats’ signature domestic ‘achievement.’
“So how did they get us here?
“Well, despite their lack of a mandate and their extremely narrow majorities in Congress, Democrats came into office last January determined to expand government and implement a far-left, socialist agenda.
“And in their minds the coronavirus crisis provided the perfect opportunity to advance their plans.
“And so despite the fact that Congress had just passed a nearly $1 trillion, bipartisan coronavirus response bill in December – the fifth bipartisan bill Congress had passed in just 10 months – Democrats declared that we immediately needed another piece of – ostensibly – coronavirus relief legislation.
“And not just another piece of legislation – a massive piece of legislation.
“Despite the fact that the December bill had met essentially all the pressing coronavirus needs the country was facing, Democrats decided that we “needed” to spend another $1.9 trillion.
“Democrats were warned that the size of their so-called American Rescue Plan – which was substantially in excess of anything the economy required – ran the risk of spurring inflation.
“Obama economic adviser Larry Summers warned in the Washington Post, and I quote, ‘there is a chance that macroeconomic stimulus on a scale closer to World War II levels than normal recession levels will set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation, with consequences for the value of the dollar and financial stability.’
“Democrats passed their bill anyway.
“They flooded the economy with a lot of unnecessary government money.
“And the results have been predictable.
“Inflation, to borrow a phrase from Larry Summers, ‘of a kind we have not seen in a generation.’
“Last week, we found out that inflation rose 6.2 percent year-over-year in October, the largest increase in more than 30 years.
“30 years, Mr. President.
“Families are facing higher prices at the grocery store.
“And when I say higher, I mean a lot higher.
“The price of meat, poultry, fish, and eggs was up 11.9 percent year-over-year in October.
“Families are also facing higher prices at the gas pump.
“For furniture and vehicles and pets and pet products.
“And the list goes on.
“While wages are rising, they’re being outstripped by inflation, which means that many families are dealing with a de facto pay cut.
“And a big reason families are struggling with the higher cost of pretty much everything is Democrats’ decision to flood the economy with unnecessary government money by passing the so-called American Rescue Plan.
“And you don’t have to take my word for it.
“Here’s what former Obama economic adviser Jason Furman had to say recently when discussing our current inflation problem: ‘The original sin was an oversized American Rescue Plan. It contributed to both higher output but also higher prices.’
“Mr. President, you might think that the inflation that has resulted from the American Rescue Plan would be giving Democrats pause right now.
“You might think that they’d be putting a hold on any more big spending until inflation calms down somewhat from its 30-plus-year high.
“But you’d be wrong.
“Democrats are actually planning to double down on the strategy that helped cause so much inflation in the first place and pass ANOTHER giant spending bill.
“Democrats are trying to finalize a new, $1.75 trillion tax-and-spending spree – the so-called ‘Build Back Better’ plan – on top of their $1.9 trillion spending spree from earlier this year.
“I say $1.75 trillion – but Democrats have only arrived at that number through a combination of shell games and budget gimmicks.
“An honest accounting of the cost of this proposal over 10 years would reveal a much higher price tag.
“And if Democrats succeed in passing this latest partisan spending spree, Americans should brace themselves … because this new flood of government money will undoubtedly make an already serious inflation situation worse.
“Mr. President, it’s no exaggeration to say that Democrats’ main focus this year has been growing the size of the federal government and expanding its reach into Americans’ lives.
“No sooner had they passed their massive $1.9 trillion spending bill in March than Democrats moved on to their next massive spending proposals, which have coalesced into the so-called Build Back Better bill the House is planning to take up this week.
“Other government business has been forced to take a back seat.
“Democrats have ignored the massive crisis at our southern border.
“They’ve ignored our inflation crisis.
“And they’ve pushed consideration of essential legislation in favor of working on their tax-and-spending plan.
“This week, the Senate will finally – finally – consider the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act – a month and a half after the 2022 fiscal year started.
“Shipbuilding projects, military infrastructure projects, development of new combat systems, a pay increase for our troops … they’ve all had to wait while Democrats negotiated over their socialist spending spree.
“And about that socialist spending spree.
“Despite the fact that Democrats have pushed aside most other matters in favor of focusing on their spending plan, they still haven’t managed to come up with a bill that can pass the House and Senate.
“And the tax proposals they plan to use to – partially – pay for the bill seem to change on a daily basis.
“A corporate tax hike … no, a corporate minimum tax.
“A new death tax … no, a new tax on wealth.
“Funding for their bill seems to be a matter of throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.
“And of course all of Democrats’ current funding proposals put together will not be able to pay for their legislation – especially when you remove the budget gimmicks that are disguising the true cost of their plans.
“Mr. President, as their narrow majorities made clear, the 2020 election did not give Democrats a mandate for socialism.
“And if that wasn’t clear to Democrats in 2020, it should certainly be clear to them now, after the election for Virginia governor earlier this month, which saw Republicans win statewide for the first time since 2009.
“Voters in Virginia sent a clear message to Democrats that they weren’t looking for far-left government – or a far-left social agenda that would seek to circumvent parents’ role in their children’s lives and education.
“But just as inflation concerns have not stopped Democrats, it’s become clear that their rebuke in Virginia won’t stop them either.
“In fact, some Democrats seem to think that their response should be to run faster and further to the left.
“And so the big agenda item for Democrats for the rest of the year continues to be passing their partisan ‘Build Back Better’ tax-and-spending spree – which means Americans will be able to look forward to further inflation and a weaker economy, not to mention increased government control of their decision-making.
“It’s a poor legacy for Democrats’ first year in office.
“But it seems to be the legacy Democrats are determined to secure.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”