August 10, 2022

Smith Opening Statement: Rules Committee Meeting on Inflation Act

As prepared for delivery.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

America is in a recession. Under Biden’s inflation crisis, under the reckless spending policies of Democrat one-party rule in Washington, Americans’ real wages have been cut by 4.5 percent. Just this morning, we found out that inflation was up 8.5 percent last month. Since Joe Biden became President, inflation has risen 13.7 percent. Americans are paying $5,900 more this year because of Democrats’ reckless spending.

I wish we were here to do something about that. But we are not.

Democrats will claim this bill will reduce inflation. Let’s be clear, naming a bill something does not make it so.

The Congressional Budget Office, Penn-Wharton, over 230 economists, and even Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders have said that this bill will either do nothing to address inflation or will actually make it worse.

It’s not hard to see why. This bill is more of the same taxing and spending from Washington Democrats.

$745 billion in spending when you strip away the fake sunset policies.

$599 billion in budget gimmicks and new taxes – being thrown on an economy in recession.

Another $146 billion in debt. In fact, even accepting the Democrats false program sunsets in this bill, it STILL adds $54 billion to the debt over the next five years. 80 percent of this bill’s so-called savings do not even show up until AFTER the year 2029.

Democrats will claim they are not raising taxes on hardworking Americans. The main architects of this bill, Senator Manchin and Senator Schumer, are both on the record saying they oppose raising taxes during a recession. This bill is a total reversal from their earlier, correct position.

$17 billion of the bill’s tax increases fall on taxpayers making less than $200,000, and half of the bill’s tax increases fall on taxpayers making less than $400,000.

This bill funnels $80 billion to the IRS to double its size so it can target more Americans; so it can conduct more than 1 million additional audits per year on Americans making less than $200,000. This is not about going after wealthy Americans or corporations with highly-paid lawyers; this is about hiring 87,000 new IRS agents so Democrats can then implement their plan to snoop on the bank accounts of middle-class Americans.

Democrats will claim this bill is a massive down payment on the Green New Deal agenda. Now, on that, I couldn’t agree more.

Over half of the spending in this bill – more than $400 billion – goes to all sorts of Green New Deal programs and policies. There’s $7.5 billion for new luxury electric vehicles and another $1.3 billion to boost the resale value of used electric vehicles – so now the wealthy will get help buying and selling their cars.

You have $1.5 billion for “tree equity”, and another $1.9 billion dedicated in part to fill gaps in tree canopy coverage. How is that going to bring down food and gas prices?

$362 million to help corporate America build greener buildings. How is that going to fix the supply chain crisis?

There's $27 billion to fund a new "green bank" at the EPA. How is that going to fix a shrinking economy or help Americans facing higher interest rates?

And of course, $12 billion in new taxes on American made energy to further raise the price at the pump.

The Inflation Act will do nothing to solve the crises facing Americans: whether it’s the high prices on groceries or gas, rising interest rates, supply chain problems, a labor shortage, spiraling debt, and now, a recession. Our Democrat colleagues are trying to spend their way out of inflation and tax their way out of a recession. It will not work, and the American people should not be asked to foot the bill for more of the same failed policies.

Congress should be focused on fighting inflation, not making it harder for folks in this country to provide for themselves and their families.

I yield back.