WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday regarding inflation:
“The American people are seriously worried about the direction our economy is headed.
“Just between January and March, the share of people reporting high living costs as the most important problem facing our country doubled. So did the share of those most worried about the price of gas.
“Consumer price hikes have set new 40-year records multiple months in a row. More and more American families are feeling the pinch. And seven in ten say they do not like how President Biden is handling it.
“It was clear from the start that the Biden Administration’s war on affordable energy would punish American consumers. And even liberal economists warned that flooding our economy with partisan spending could trigger broad inflation.
“Sure enough, American families have now endured nine straight months of inflation above a 5% annual pace.
“And the worst effects are being felt in the most vulnerable pockets of our society.
“One analysis of spending on household staples found that cost-cutting ‘is most pronounced among lower-income Americans.’
“As the Washington Post reported, ‘lower-income workers like [Jacqueline] Rodriguez have seen some of the fastest wage growth of the pandemic era. But those gains are being eroded by the highest inflation in 40 years… ‘It’s outrageous how much everything has gone up,’ Rodriguez said. ‘I go to the supermarket to buy chicken, and I have to make a decision on what meal I’m going to cook based on the prices… Everything is more expensive.’’
“Another group who’re especially vulnerable are seniors on fixed incomes. One retired teacher in North Carolina recently said it like this: ‘Just surviving day to day has become a big concern of mine – because, how in the world?… I’m starting to panic. I’m starting to think, ‘How am I going to keep paying for everything?’’
“Many retirees already face health challenges or other hardships, so there is simply no wiggle room in their budgets.
“One California man explained that cancer was the reason he had to retire in the first place. Now he’s, quote, “scraping the bottom of the barrel… I do most of my food shopping in markdown bins and don’t buy much else.”
“One White House official has seemed to endorse the sentiment that inflation is, a ‘high-class problem.’ A whole lot of low-income families and retired Americans could very readily set them straight on that.
“Last autumn, the Administration’s top spokeswoman scoffed at what she called ‘the tragedy of the treadmill that’s delayed.’
“That may be the extent of the pain that inflation and supply chain problems are causing certain affluent people here inside the Beltway — having to wait a little extra on luxury purchases. But I can assure the President’s team that many Americans are hurting a lot worse than they are.
“The very least the Administration must do is stop digging. No more reckless spending. No gigantic tax increases that would damage the economy even further.
“Yet Senate Democrats won’t give up on yet another reckless spending spree. And just last week the Biden Administration proposed to smack the country with the biggest tax hike in American history.
“The last thing American families can afford is more of the same recklessness that got us here.”