May 11, 2023

Arrington Opening Statement at "Exposing the Woke, Wasteful, and Bloated Bureaucracy" Hearing

Today, House Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-TX) delivered the following opening remarks at a hearing on "Exposing the Woke, Wasteful, and Bloated Bureaucracy."

Click here to watch Arrington's full remarks.

Chairman Arrington's remarks as prepared for delivery:

"This is the first hearing of our committee since the House passed Republicans’ debt ceiling proposal - the Limit, Save, and Grow Act. This bill is a responsible and important first step to getting our fiscal house in order and beginning to extinguish the inflationary firestorm caused by President Biden’s reckless spending and failed economic policies.

Nobody can look at the balance sheet of our federal government or the nonpartisan CBO’s budget outlook and not be deeply concerned about the rapid deterioration of our nation’s financial health. Over the last two years, President Biden has financed his radical agenda and vast expansion of the federal government with an unprecedented $10 trillion in spending -- $6 trillion of which has been added to the national debt - all of which has resulted in our current inflationary and recessionary economy and bleak fiscal outlook.

Unfortunately, instead of acknowledging the consequences of their policies and working with Republicans to include fiscal reforms in a debt ceiling deal, my Democrat colleagues have chosen to respond with false choices, fear mongering, and phantom funding cuts.

While the American people have been forced to tighten their belts and change their spending habits as a result of Biden’s spending-induced inflation, Senator Schumer and President Biden  are fighting tooth-and-nail for the status quo.

And what has the status quo given us: skyrocketing prices, shrinking paychecks, soaring interest rates, a culture of dependency, and an overall weaker economy and a more vulnerable nation.

If you factor in the impact of record inflation on working families, Americans have effectively received a major pay cut. In fact, the average family of four is paying over $13,000 per year ($13,186) more to purchase the same goods and services as they did in January 2021 - over $1000 a month when 6 out of 10 Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

And I believe the American people are connecting the dots between Washington’s out-of-control spending and their cost of living crisis.  That’s why I’m not surprised that 3 out of 4 Americans - including nearly 60% of Democrats - expect President Biden to negotiate a debt ceiling increase that includes spending reductions.

Here’s the bottom line: our federal government is 40% larger today than it was at the beginning of Covid and, according to CBO, we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars more in discretionary spending than they predicted in 2019.

My Democrat colleagues will claim this was justifiable COVID spending, but when you look closely, it’s clear that Washington is spending a lot of money on a lot of things that the federal government should not be funding—bailouts and handouts outside of the core mission of government, growing the bureaucracy and injecting divisive wokeness into every aspect of government.

This is what a woke, wasteful, bloated bureaucracy looks like:

  • A $1.9 trillion 'American Rescue Plan' for COVID where less than ten percent of the funding actually went to combating COVID - (instead, it went to bailouts for union pensions, schools who never opened their doors to students, blue states that were financially underwater prior to COVID, and stimulus checks to people who were not economically harmed, and paying people more to stay home than to return to work.)
  • More than $700 billion for a disastrous and unconstitutional student loan cancellation that disproportionately benefits the wealthy and raises the cost of college for everyone else;
  • At least another $680 billion for special interest tax breaks for Green corporations and "environmental justice" grants;
  • An $80 billion expansion of IRS agents and audits - 70% of which will be target low and middle income individuals and small businesses
  • $14 billion to weaken common-sense work requirements and create a new generation of Americans trapped in the cycle of poverty and dependence
  • And billions more for all kinds of progressive-Democrat pet projects, including:
  • $3 million for a 'LGBTQ+ museum' in New York City;
  • $2 million to promote dirt-bike culture in Baltimore;
  • $1.2 million for so-called 'pride centers' in San Diego;
  • And $3.6 million to expand the Michelle Obama Trail in Decatur, Georgia, so it can intersect with the proposed Michelle Obama Park.
Now, if New Yorkers want to ….But I don't think the citizens of Lubbock, Texas, should be forced to pay for it–or for any of this woke waste.

At this point, agencies are cutting checks so recklessly that, according to the GAO, over the last two years, more than half a trillion dollars were wasted or fraudulently spent. The rate of these fraudulent payments has jumped dramatically under President Biden, by nearly 60%. It is estimated that $163 billion has been taken from taxpayers through unemployment fraud alone.

Meanwhile, the improper payment rates in some of these programs are astounding:

  • 32% rate of improper payments for the Earned Income Tax Credit;
  • 27% for Obamacare tax credits;
  • 16% for Medicaid;
These are not run-of-the-mill rounding errors; it is gross incompetence. But rather than fixing these problems and protecting taxpayer dollars, the president proposes throwing more good money after bad.

So here we are: A government awash in waste; sustained record inflation; soaring interest rates; and a nation on the brink of a catastrophic debt crisis - and what is the President’s response to this? To submit a budget with the highest sustained levels of spending, taxing, and borrowing in the history of the United States.

Folks, we can pay our bills and protect the good faith and credit of the United States, but we cannot - and we will not - allow this President or any politician to have a blank check to bankrupt our country.

We must rein-in this unbridled spending; right-size the wasteful, woke, and bloated bureaucracy;  and act responsibly for the sake of our children and the future of our nation."