U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding Democrats’ reckless tax and spending spree:
“While the American people are battling inflation at its worst since 2008, Washington Democrats are behind closed doors writing another reckless taxing and spending spree that would have the government borrow and print trillions upon trillions more.
“While our economy still struggles to fully recover from last year’s COVID lockdowns, President Biden wants to slap Americans with the biggest tax hike in half a century.
“It is really remarkable to watch senior, established leaders in the Democratic Party take their marching orders from the radical left. We’re hearing claims and arguments that are absurd on their face as top Democrats try to wrestle with the positions they’ve been forced into.
“Yesterday, President Biden’s Twitter account made the following two claims in the space of two sentences. First, the ‘Build Back Better Agenda costs $0.’ Zero dollars! And then, in the next sentence: ‘We’re going to pay for it by ensuring those at the top and big corporations pay their fair share.’
“How amazing, Mr. President! It’s the first time in human history that something can be totally free… yet nevertheless needs to be paid for. The Democrats’ socialist logic has become so advanced, they have transcended mathematics itself.
“Of course, the truth is that the Democrats’ massive tax hikes would not only hit the wealthy. It never works that way. There is no way to set up the kind of massive and never-ending new entitlements that Democrats want without coming hard after the middle class.
“And sure enough, nonpartisan experts have already confirmed the Democrats’ reckless taxing and spending spree would hit the middle class and shatter President Biden’s promise of no tax hikes for anybody earning less than $400,000.
“But as my colleague the junior Senator for South Carolina has put it, as much as the reckless cost of their wish list would hurt Americans, the reckless content of the legislation may be even worse.
“Just look at what Democrats want to do to American families’ health care and prescription medicines.
“Last month, a new report from the Medicare trustees confirmed that the trust fund for Medicare Part A is on track to reach insolvency in just five years. More than 54 million American seniors rely on Medicare and the promises we have already made are getting more and more expensive to keep.
“Last year, for the first time ever, the amount the federal government spends on Medicare alone exceeded everything that we spent on the national defense.
“With Medicare five years from real fiscal problems, the last thing we need right now are politicians stretching the program even thinner. But that is exactly what Democrats are doing behind closed doors at this very moment.
“Their reckless taxing and spending spree would heap hundreds of billions of dollars in new expenses and obligations onto the already troubled Medicare trust funds.
“Hundreds of billions of dollars in new obligations… for untested new programs… for big new pools of people… all using the care seniors count on as the Democrats’ piggy bank. With the program already on unsure footing.
“Even some of our colleagues on the Democratic side are calling this craziness what it is. As one of our colleagues said recently, we have to, ‘stabiliz[e] what we have, before we start going down this expansion [road]’ or else it would be, ‘fiscal insanity.’
“But that isn’t the only damage the Democrats’ bill would inflict on our health system. At the same time, they want to impose socialist price controls on the prescription medicines that Americans need. This is another example of magical thinking: If we just pass a law saying something ought to be cheaper, it’ll be cheaper!
“Here in the real world, arbitrary price-setting on prescription drugs would cut down the private sector’s incentive to keep innovating. Expert research shows Americans and the whole world would be left with fewer new drugs, fewer new treatments, and fewer new cures.
“That isn’t an abstract thing. This is a human cost. In the world Democrats want to create, some Americans would get sick and some would die who would have lived if new treatments had come into existence instead of being squashed by bad policy.
“One University of Chicago academic and past leader of the Council of Economic Advisers has calculated that over one decade, House Democrats’ prescription price controls could rob our nation of 15 to 20 times as many collective years of life as the entire COVID pandemic has stolen thus far.
“Let me repeat that. This expert believes that this Democratic war on prescription drug innovation could result in a total loss of American life that is 15 to 20 times that which COVID has caused thus far.
“In a serious world, any discussion of this terrible policy would stop right there. But Democrats need to slash our investment in treatments and cures because they need to cannibalize that money for other parts of their partisan wish list. It’s the same reason Democrats are clinging to their absurd new IRS spying provision that would let Big Brother snoop on citizens’ transactions in excess of $600.
“Another awful idea – but they need the money.
“These desperate cash grabs capture the essence of this partisan bill that Democrats are drafting behind closed doors.
“Jeopardizing seniors’ Medicare funding, killing huge numbers of Americans indirectly by attacking new treatments and new cures… and for what?
“For a liberal hodge-podge of new entitlement programs when we can’t even shore up the ones we already have.
“Just a few more of the hundred ways this reckless taxing and spending spree would hurt American families.”