August 23, 2021

Smith Testimony at House Rules Committee on FY22 Budget

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

As any family or small business knows, a budget is important. In Washington, it is supposed to guide the fiscal trajectory of our nation and to allow the American people to keep Congress honest about its spending.

Unfortunately, the failure by my colleagues on the other side to pass a budget has not stopped them from spending. The House has already voted on several spending bills for FY 2022, without any sort of real budget to guide the process.

And now they want us to go backwards and do a budget when the appropriations process is already well under way? Sound familiar? It should. This is exactly how my Democrat colleagues abused the budget process earlier this year - to conjure up a way to use 51 votes in the Senate to enact a radical agenda no one actually wants.

Budgeting means coming up with a plan before you start spending. Of course, this budget is not about strengthening the fiscal integrity of our nation. Nor is this budget about getting government spending and inflation under control.

We know it is not about protecting the integrity of programs our seniors rely upon. And it certainly does not protect American working families and those making less than $400,000 a year from tax increases. In fact, it does the opposite.

This whole effort is simply to turn the budget into a political tool to unlock the door to at least $3.5 trillion in new spending and taxes on a host of policies which do nothing to fix the crises facing American families. The Inflation Crisis. The Border Crisis. The Energy Crisis. This budget only makes them worse.

My Democrat colleagues are using the Budget to enact amnesty for millions, to expand government-controlled healthcare, to subsidize blue state taxes for the wealthy, to banish low-cost traditional electricity and provide handouts for wealthy environmentalists.

We are only ten legislative days from the government shutting down. It has been weeks since we hit our debt limit, and the only thing that the majority party seems to be focused on is how to spend as much as they can in as little time as possible.

We cannot, in good faith, ignore the effects that government spending will have on inflation and the price of goods and services American families are paying. For months, the White House and Democrats in Congress have argued that inflation is transitory, meanwhile prices have continued to climb and are on pace to rise for the year at their fastest rate since 1981. The American people are being asked to ignore the real pain they are feeling at this moment, and hold out for the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

And what does that promise look like, exactly?

I’ll tell you – more runaway government spending and massive debt that working class families will be forced to bear if this budget is passed.

$68 trillion in spending over ten years – the highest sustained spending level in American history. The spending in this budget combined with what has already been spent since 2019 equals more than the total taxes paid by all Americans in U.S. history.

There is $17 trillion in new debt – more than the value of every economy on Earth except the United States. In ten years, under this budget, it will cost us $1 trillion just to cover the interest on our debt – more than what we will spend on Medicare this year, and more than our entire national defense budget at the end of this decade.

We cannot inflate our way out of inflation, or power an economy on empty promises. The way we move forward together as one country is to use the budget to keep Congress honest about its spending and our debt under control, to keep America strong.

The American people cannot afford this budget.