WASHINGTON — Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee Ranking Member Michael Cloud (R-Texas) opened today’s hearing by slamming Democrats for shifting blame for the economic crisis from the Biden Administration’s disastrous fiscal policies to the private sector. He pointed out that today’s subcommittee hearing is only the second this year, noting that the first hearing was on pet flea and tick collars. He concluded by calling for real oversight over the cause of historic inflation impacting Americans and work to ensure it does not happen again.
Below are Subcommittee Ranking Member Cloud’s remarks as prepared:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing today.
No issue affects the American people more today than the economic crisis caused by the Biden Administration’s disastrous fiscal policies.
Inflation, which was at 1.4 percent when President Biden took office in January of 2021, is now at a historically high rate of 8.3 percent.
Inflation has skyrocketed during the Biden Administration.
And yet the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy has not taken the time to consider the historic levels of inflation until today.
Except we are not examining the actual cause of inflation today. Rather my Democratic colleagues have convened this hearing to blame companies—the private sector—for rising costs.
They are ignoring the true cause of rising inflation and the recession we are experiencing: the Biden Administration’s reckless spending. Passing the $1.9 trillion dollar “Pelosi payoff” as Republicans call it, put us on a fiscal path to destruction.
But that is keeping with the theme of the hearings from this Subcommittee and the Full Committee this Congress.
We don’t do oversight here on the Oversight Committee. We barely even have hearings.
In fact, this is only the second hearing the Subcommittee has held this calendar year.
The first hearing, held in June, was on pet flea and tick collars.
At that time, as we are today, our nation was in the midst of the biggest economic crisis in decades.
We found no time to examine the policies contributing to this economic crisis. But Subcommittee Democrats found time to hold a hearing on pet collars.
Today, once again, Democrats are trying to shift blame away from the Biden Administration to the private sector.
In fact, today’s panel of witnesses does not include any officials from the Biden Administration, a theme we have seen throughout the Democrats’ stewardship of this Subcommittee and the full Committee.
The purpose for this hearing, as stated in the Democrat memorandum is to “examine how certain industries have used their market power to drive inflation to 40-year high levels.”
Nowhere in the memorandum does it discuss the nearly $4 trillion President Biden has spent since taking office.
The reality is that the inflation rate initially spiked after the passage of the Democrats massive nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan Act.
As you can see on the chart behind me, inflation was at 2.6 percent in March of 2021 when the American Rescue Plan Act was passed.
By May of 2021, inflation had nearly doubled to 5 percent.
Even liberal economists warned the President that the American Rescue Plan would overheat the economy.
On February 4, 2021, Harvard Professor Larry Summers—top economic advisor to both President Clinton and President Obama—warned that the almost $2 trillion stimulus plan was three times as large as the projected shortfall
He said “policymakers need to ensure that they have plans in place to address [the] possible, and quite serious, problem” of inflation.”
Instead of taking time to analyze the impact that additional government spending might have on inflation, the Biden Administration continued to pump money into the economy, and inflation continued to worsen.
On September 13, 2022, when the August numbers were released showing 8.3 percent inflation, President Biden hosted a party to celebrate the passage of an additional half-trillion dollars of additional spending—ironically called the Inflation Reduction Act.
Economists agree, this legislation will have little to no impact on actual inflation that is crushing everyday Americans.
Just a few days later, on CBS’s 60 minutes, President Biden told the American people that the inflation rate increased in August “just an inch, hardly at all…”
That inch matters to the American people.
That inch is not minimal when it is stacked on top of already sky-high inflation.
As you can see on the second poster behind me, the American people are paying significantly more today for goods than they were when President Biden took office, and they have less money to buy them with.
The average median households income is now worth about 13 percent less than it was when Biden took office.
Since January of 2021, ground beef prices have gone up 24 percent.
Bacon prices have gone up 26 percent.
Chicken breast prices have gone up nearly 45 percent.
Rent has gone up about 25 percent.
These prices increases hit low- and middle-income Americans the hardest.
President Biden’s flippant attitude toward the American people’s suffering is unacceptable.
It is unconscionable that the Democrats on this Subcommittee would choose to ignore Biden Administration’s excessive spending as the largest factor contributing inflation.
House Oversight Republicans, clamoring to conduct real oversight, have written multiple letters to the Biden Administration to request information on the plan to acknowledge, address, and lower inflation.
Last year on June 2, 2021, we wrote to Brian Deese, the Director of the National Economic Council, requesting information on the Administration’s plan to combat inflation.
We did not receive a response.
More recently on August 24, 2022, we wrote to President Biden requesting a briefing on his response to inflation and received no response.
Today we are sending another letter to Brian Deese requesting a briefing on solutions to address the economic crisis.
I hope, for the sake of the American people, the members of this committee can conduct real oversight over the cause of this historic inflation and work to ensure it does not happen again.Thank you, I yield back.