House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) demanded that Democrats start taking Americans’ inflation and supply chain concerns seriously at today’s hearing on price gouging.

Excerpts and highlights from her remarks:

INFLATION IS HURTING AMERICANS

“Americans are feeling the pain of a year of one-party-rule. President Biden’s inflation has hit a 40-year high.

“Prices have risen across the board, from the pump to the grocery store, and everything in between.

“I just heard from a mom in my district who is struggling to find baby formula.

“She said, ‘this supply chain crisis has really hurt my family in being able to find food.’

I appreciate the confidence of the Chairman, but I think the frustration on this side of the aisle from Republicans is we continue to see a go it alone approach—bills are being put together in the Speaker’s office without input from the Republicans.

The fact of the matter is Democrats have the votes. They’re running the show, and we see record spending, we see top-down mandates, COVID-19 restrictions, surging energy costs that are making rising prices and empty shelves worse.

“It’s all connected.

“If we want to be transparent with the American people about rising prices, today’s topic should be focused on how to reverse the damage that is resulting in the supply chain and inflation crisis.

“Unfortunately, today is a deliberate diversion on the root issues.”

PRICE GOUGING

“On the issue of price gouging, standing up against those who have profiteered during the pandemic is bipartisan issue.

“Last Congress I joined Chairman Pallone and subcommittee Chair Schakowsky, along with then Ranking Member Walden, in sending a letter to the FTC.

“The letter requested biweekly updates from the FTC on their tracking of illegal behavior during the pandemic, like price gouging and scams.

“I’ll be entering that letter into the record.

“So I wonder, if the majority believes this is a top concern, why didn’t they ask to restart the FTC updates this Congress? And why did they not consider our suggestions from two years ago on how to make the legislation better?

“Again, we see this go it alone approach. They seem to be more comfortable with a partisan solution.

“As I said, today’s hearing is a deliberate diversion from the inflation crisis.

“The COVID-19 Price Gouging Prevention Act still contains the flaws it did two years ago.

“For instance, it fails to define what constitutes an “excessive” price increase, despite many states having established their own laws specifying an allowable percentage while taking into account supply chain factors.

“This proposal is supposed be targeted towards goods and services during the Public Health Emergency that are most vulnerable to gouging.

“But it fails to address the real reason for spiking prices.

“It doesn’t take into account that when schools are forced to shut down many parents leave the workforce, unable to participate in the economy.

“It doesn’t address workers being forced out of a job for refusing to submit to vaccine mandates.

“It doesn’t take into account that we are in a very different stage of this pandemic than we were two years ago.

“It doesn’t take into account the hundreds of billions of dollars that the Democrats continue to pump into the economy, causing consumer demand to spike even as fewer products are available due to supply chain strains and workforce shortages.

“The record spending only exacerbates the Biden inflationary death spiral.

“Last Congress, we were able to enact a bipartisan, bicameral legislation for first offense penalty authority to tackle COVID-19 scams.

“It is disappointing that the legislation today fails to embody that bipartisan spirit.”

UNLEASHING AMERICAN INNOVATION

“Let’s work together. We all agree that we want America to compete and to lead.

“My colleague brought up the issue of autonomous vehicles. Today, the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee is having a hearing on autonomous vehicles.

“One month from now, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which the House Science Committee has jurisdiction over, is holding a workshop on AVs.

I was pleased to hear the Subcommittee Chair say that she is in favor of autonomous vehicle legislation. Four years ago, Republicans and Democrats came together and passed legislation to lay out a national framework for autonomous vehicles. We need that in order to win the future.

We hear a lot about electric vehicles, but we need an AV framework. That is our future and

America should be leading in developing this technology rather than allowing China to dominate, test, and move forward.

“My colleagues and I stand ready to work on real solutions to resolve supply chain issues, reduce inflation, unleash innovation, and win the future.”

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