Chairman Yarmuth's Opening Statement at Members’ Day Hearing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth, Chair of the House Budget Committee, gave the following opening statement at the committee’s Members’ Day hearing, during which Members of the 117th Congress testify before the committee on their budget priorities for the year. Remarks as prepared and video are below:
Good morning and welcome to the Budget Committee’s Members’ Day hearing. This day is a longstanding tradition for the Budget Committee, and each year I look forward to this opportunity to hear from our colleagues on their budget priorities.
Our last Members’ Day hearing was in March of 2021 — and the world looked undeniably different then. In the year since, we have made tremendous progress in our fight against COVID and in our economic recovery. We’ve gone from approximately 53 million Americans fully vaccinated to more than 220 million Americans fully vaccinated.
A record number of jobs were created in the U.S. last year, with 8.3 million created since President Biden took office. The number of people relying on unemployment benefits has dropped from 18 million to approximately 1 million — the lowest level since 1970. And just last year, Americans started 5.4 million new businesses — more than any other year on record.
This progress was neither predicted nor guaranteed. It was largely the result of the investments in the American Rescue Plan — and it’s the main reason our economic recovery is far outpacing most of our global competitors.
But Congress’s work is not done. American families and our economy still face interconnected challenges that threaten to destabilize households and slow our record-breaking recovery.
Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, a persistent mismatch between supply and demand, and pandemic-related supply chain issues have put upward pressure on prices not just in the U.S., but around the world. The U.S. is among many advanced economies that are experiencing inflation above five percent right now. This includes countries that did not enact major recovery legislation like the American Rescue Plan.
So, we have a global, multinational problem and our Republican colleagues are insisting it has a uniquely American cause. Why? I think we all know why — and it’s certainly not helpful to the American people. But I’ll move on.
The Federal Reserve is best positioned to tackle immediate inflation concerns, and Congress can — and must — do everything it can to lower costs for American families overall. Smart and necessary investments in early education and childcare, health care, and affordable housing would be enormously helpful to families while expanding opportunities for parents and children.
Commonsense reforms to rebalance our tax code to reward work — not wealth — will cut taxes for families and ensure that huge corporations are paying their fair share. In the short term, these investments will improve the lives of American families and strengthen our recovery. In the long term, they will foster increased opportunities and a more equitable and productive economy. That is what the American people want from their government, and that is what the American people need from their government.
I’m sure my colleagues on the other side of the dais will have a lot to say about inflation today.
I, for one, would welcome an explanation on how the American Rescue Plan also managed to cause high inflation in France, the UK, Brazil, and so many other countries around the world. I would also like to know why on earth they think raising taxes on half of Americans, from teachers to firefighters, is a solution to high inflation. That’s the only Republican Leadership plan I’ve seen put forward, and it would be devastating to American families.
But the true purpose of this hearing is to get as much helpful input as possible. We are here to listen to our colleagues and learn about the concerns of their constituents.
It is my hope that today’s hearing will provide insight into the issues and longer-term budgetary challenges this committee should examine as we work to build an economy that works for all Americans.
Once again, I want thank members for taking time out of their busy schedules to appear before our committee today, and I look forward to their testimony.
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