August 12, 2022

Smith Opening Statement: Floor Debate on the Inflation Act

As prepared for delivery

This week we found out inflation remains at a forty year high – having risen 13.7 percent since Biden became President. Real wages have fallen 4.5 percent.

Americans are suffering.

Are we here debating how to alleviate that suffering? No.

We are debating what Democrats call the “Inflation Reduction Act” which everyone from the Congressional Budget Office to over 230 economists – even Senator Bernie Sanders – says will not actually reduce inflation.

When you strip away the fake sunset policies, this bill spends $745 billion and adds $146 billion to the debt. Even scoring the bill as Democrats have constructed it, you still add $54 billion to the debt over the next five years. 80 percent of the so-called savings don’t show up until after the year 2029.

So, lots of spending up front, lots of debt up front, and then maybe savings 8 years from now. How is that going to put out the fires of inflation when the price of groceries is up 13.1 percent over the past year?

Senators Manchin and Schumer, Secretary Yellen and even former President Obama are all on record saying you don’t raise taxes during a recession. But that is exactly what this bill does. It includes $599 billion in new taxes and budget gimmicks. Half of that tax burden falls on taxpayers making less than $400,000.

The choice this bill puts in front of families making less than $200,000 is clear – put the government at the center of your healthcare decisions or face a $10 billion tax increase.

But it gets worse.

This bill doubles the size of the IRS so it can target and audit more middle-class families and snoop on their bank accounts. Not sure how subjecting Americans to more audits solves the inflation crisis.

In my home state of Missouri, this bill would QUADRUPLE the number of audits. 18,000 MORE families making under $200,000 would be subjected to an IRS audit.

Of course, that’s not the only point of the bill. This is about Democrats’ Green New Deal agenda. My colleagues on the other side will come down here today not to talk about inflation, not to talk about gas prices, but to instead talk about the hundreds of billions this bill spends on radical environmental policies.

And you know what, they would be right.

Half of the spending – over $400 billion – goes to things like:

  • $3.4 billion for “tree equity” and to fill gaps in tree canopy coverage. Surely that will bring down gas prices…
  • $7.5 billion for new luxury electric vehicles for taxpayers making upwards of $300,000. That should help curtail inflation...
  • $27 billion for a national “climate bank” slush-fund at the EPA. That should help our supply chain problems…
  • A $362 million handout to corporate America to make their office buildings ‘greener’. That will definitely help secure our southern border…
Democrats believe they can spend their way out of inflation and tax their way out of a recession. It will only make the suffering Americans face today that much worse.

This bill is simple. It is welfare for the wealthy and big corporations – paid for by increased taxes and audits on middle- and low-income taxpayers. Those hardworking Americans are the ones that have been forgotten under this one-party Democrat rule.

The Washington and wealthy elites win again.

I yield back.