SPEECH: Democrats' Tax and Spending Spree
Mr. President, I want to talk about transparency, and I want to talk about the need for transparency here in the U.S. Senate more than ever.
The House and the Senate are moving with breakneck speed to pass one of the biggest, most reckless spending social bills in U.S. history, over $3.5 trillion--a spending spree that will be the largest in a generation--which will include the largest tax hike that we have seen in peacetime and something that the majority leader himself has called the largest transformation in a generation.
Make no mistake. This is trying to transform America--cradle to grave socialism. Don't take my word for it. Here is the way the New York Times described this $3.5 trillion reckless spending bill from the House coming to the Senate. It is legislation that would touch virtually every American's life from conception to age and infirmity, from cradle to grave. That is the New York Times. In other words, the Federal Government will be involved in all facets of every single American life, from birth to death--one of the biggest tax-and-spend programs certainly since President Johnson's Great Society or President Roosevelt's New Deal.
With that involvement of our government will come higher taxes, taxes on smaller businesses, taxes on the middle class, and, yes, we believe our Senate colleagues are planning a tax cut for those who live in the big cities, known as the “Blue State Bailout.” The chairman of the Budget Committee, who is crafting this bill, Senator Sanders, who has called himself “a proud socialist,” is going to have tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires in this legislation.
So one would think that a bill of this magnitude, this size, this transformational an impact on every single American, would be a bill that the U.S. Senate, the so-called most deliberative body in the world, would actually hold one hearing on--just one--and would actually hold a markup or two in the different committees. Right now, our Democratic colleagues, with no explanation, are not planning on one hearing or one markup in any committee--none. As, I think, anybody who knows anything about this body knows, that is unprecedented.
The House rushed, no doubt. They have already marked up this legislation, way too fast, but, at least, they allowed for amendments. At least, they debated it.
When Republicans controlled the Congress in 2017, with regard to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which went through reconciliation, we held numerous hearings in Senate committees. We had markups. We debated amendments. But for this bill--$3.5 trillion--right now, our colleagues are not going to do any of that.
Of course, the media has given them a free pass. Nothing. The most deliberative body in the world, the transformational bill of a generation, the Green New Deal and all the other socialist ideas, and we are not going to have one hearing, not going to have one markup in one committee.
What is going on? Well, I would love it if the majority leader or any other Senate Democrat would come down to the Senate floor and explain to the American people why. Why aren't we doing that? No transparency?
So I have a theory, because we are not going to hear from the majority leader or any of my other colleagues. I would love to hear them.
Come on down. Explain why we are not having one hearing on the biggest bill in a generation--$3.5 trillion.
Here is my theory. There are several reasons why they don't want the public to see a hearing or a markup relating to this bill.
First and foremost, they don't want to have to defend what is in it. They don't want the public, who is seeing skyrocketing prices at the pump, at the grocery store, seeing all the increases in prices across our country, to see the specifics of a bill that are clearly going to supercharge more inflation. They don't want to have to defend a bill that will have the largest tax increase in American history. They don't want to have to defend a bill or show the American people tax rates on small businesses that will be bigger than anything in the European Union or in communist China, or hundreds of billions to bail out health insurers or $200 million for the Speaker's pet project in the Presidio Park in San Francisco or $5 billion for an environmental justice tax credit for universities, whatever the heck that is. Or how about $100 billion for amnesty for 10 million illegal immigrants, making them eligible for Federal benefits? They don't want to have to defend that. They don't want to have to debate that. These are just a few core elements of the bill as we know it. As I mentioned, there are also the tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires in big cities.
And they don't want to have to talk about the debt ceiling that my colleagues are trying to raise so they can continue their trillion dollars of reckless spending. The majority leader just mentioned that. He doesn't mention what is in the bill, won't have hearings about what is in the bill, won't have markups for the American people to see.
And on the debt ceiling, you know, just last month, 45 of my Senate Republican colleagues and I signed a letter, putting our colleagues on the other side of the aisle on notice that we will not vote to increase the debt limit if they continued down this reckless path. And the reason is simple: My Democratic colleagues are content to go it alone and pass their irresponsible $3.5 trillion socialist spending spree with no hearings, no markup, no nothing, with just Democratic input, which is all we have.
Again, when we were going through our budget reconciliation process, we took amendments, we debated them, and we voted on them. They are not doing that.
If they are doing this solely by themselves, with no transparency, then our Democratic friends should be solely responsible for raising the debt ceiling to accommodate it. They control all branches of the government. The majority leader clearly knows they could fix that right now. They are creating their own crisis, and they can solve it.
So, once again, this $3.5 trillion bill is being rushed. What is another reason? I think they are getting a little nervous that if youhad a markup, say, in the Budget Committee, you would see that the author of the bill, the chairman of the Budget Committee, is promoting a socialist agenda that he is proud of because he is actually an avowed socialist.
Now, I am not trying to insult anyone. This is what he calls himself.
So I think my Democratic colleagues get a little nervous that a bill authored by a socialist in the Senate would have to be defended. But, again, no hearings, no markup, and I know a lot of my Democratic colleagues are uncomfortable with this. They are uncomfortable with the bill. They are uncomfortable with the lack of transparency, but they are not calling for transparency. They are saying: Let's just move this as quickly as possible so nobody in America can see it.
So far, they are being successful, but I think we need to put this into context. Here is a piece from the Wall Street Journal from last week, where it talked about putting this rush job on the reckless spending bill from the majority leader and the Speaker of the House in historic context. It said:
FDR's New Deal programs were passed incrementally over two Presidential terms with overwhelming Democratic majorities. Democrats created the Great Society over two years, with supermajorities under President Johnson. ObamaCare was hashed out over nine months before Democrats enacted it into law with 56 votes in the Senate. The 2017 GOP tax reform bill--as I just mentioned--was debated for months, and its principles for years before Congress voted and marked it up.
Now with merely 50 Democrats in the Senate—
-and a five-Member House majority, Democrats are planning to rush through the biggest tax and spending increase in half a century--
With not one hearing in the U.S. Senate, without one markup in any committee.
There is no mandate for this, but for most of my colleagues, the quicker the better to move on. Don't look, America. Don't look that the author of this bill is actually a socialist, because it is socialism.
Now, this rush job is not good for the American people. So here is a better idea, and it comes from a Senate Democrat, my colleague Senator Manchin. A couple of weeks ago, he very wisely called for a “strategic pause.”
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal he said that there is another reason for a strategic pause.
Now I am quoting Senator Manchin:
We must allow for a complete reporting and analysis of the implications a multitrillion-dollar bill will have for this generation and the next. Such a strategic pause will allow every member of Congress to use the transparent committee process to debate: What should we fund, and what can we simply not afford?
That is Senator Manchin. His op-ed also said that amid the inflation that we are seeing, debt and the inevitability of future crises, Congress needs to take a strategic pause on this $3.5 trillion reckless spending spree.
So one of my Democratic colleagues is wisely calling for what we all know we need here, which is the precedent of this body, the most deliberative body in the world--a pause, hearings, markups so the American people can see what is actually in this.
It sounds like that is not going to happen, and I would love it if any of my Democratic colleagues would come to the floor and tell the American people why.
We can and should have debates about our respective visions for our great country.
No one should be afraid of looking closely at this $3.5 trillion monstrosity. Let's have a debate about it. Let's debate the massive increases in taxes, the vast expansion of entitlements, the cradle-to-grave socialism that certain Democrats are proposing for every individual American's life.
The American people deserve this. My constituents back home in Alaska certainly would welcome such a debate, but the American people deserve this.
Why are my colleagues afraid to debate and have hearings and a markup on this massive legislation? It is the American people's money, after all, that will pay for this transformational, socialist bill, and it is their lives that will be impacted and upended if this reckless, rushed bill becomes law.
So let's do this. Let's hit a strategic pause, as Senator Manchin asked for.
Let's pry this bill open, hold hearings, and lay out our visions for our country. Let's have a debate: More taxes or freedom? Socialism versus market capitalism. Do we want a fundamental transformation, as the majority leader and the budget chairman have asked for, or do we want commonsense legislation that helps working men and women in our country achieve their dreams?
I am hopeful that the majority leader will agree with Senator Manchin and do what is right for the American people: Hit a pause, hold hearings, and hold markups before he makes a mockery of the phrase “the world's most deliberative body,” which he is now trying to do with this rushed and reckless spending bill.