House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) opened this week’s hearing on “The Impact of the American Rescue Plan’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds” by slamming Democrats’ reckless spending that created the highest inflation rates in 40 years. In his remarks, Ranking Member Comer pointed out that economists across the political spectrum warned spending trillions of dollars under the guise of COVID relief would result in inflation, but Democrats didn’t heed their warnings. Instead of celebrating the Democrats’ spending binge, Ranking Member Comer called for the Oversight and Reform Committee to conduct oversight of the many crises facing Americans, including inflation, record illegal immigration, and skyrocketing energy prices.
Below are Ranking Member Comer’s remarks as prepared for delivery.
Chairwoman Maloney, thank you for calling this hearing today.
I would like to welcome our witnesses today and thank them for their testimony and input – with a special mention to my friend and fellow Kentuckian, Judge Gary Moore.
But, Madam chair, I yet again have to question the underlying premise of this hearing.
While states and localities surely appreciate billions of dollars in Federal aid – what exactly are we doing here?
It’s certainly not conducting oversight.
The bill Democrats passed might have sent plenty of money out the door, but they refused to put guardrails in place to ensure it was spent well.
Democrats simply threw money out the door like they were throwing beads off a Mardi Gras float on Fat Tuesday.
But economists across the political spectrum warned sending trillions of dollars out under the guise of COVID relief – money well in excess of what was needed – would result in a world-class hangover.
And that’s what we’ve got now in the form of the highest inflation rates we’ve seen since the 1980s.
Instead of celebrating Democrats’ reckless spending binge today, we should instead address the many crises and issues that matter to the American people.
The origins of the COVID pandemic.
The energy crisis.
The broken border.
The disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan – and now, the war in Ukraine.
Sadly, the list continues to grow.
Yet, Democrats think the best use of our time is to give themselves a pat on the back.
A job well done giving out piles of cash for anything, any need – real and perceived.
Needs like “green” homes, stimulus payments for illegal immigrants, state parks and trails, golf courses, and a local zoo.
And who knows what else? “Who knows,” because it is unclear if anybody is keeping track. There’s no required reporting.
I am sure states and localities can point to projects important to their communities.
And I am sure Democrats will try to point to such projects in my home state of Kentucky.
But that doesn’t make the underlying facts disappear.
Congress gave out trillions in “recovery” dollars that weren’t needed for recovery, which has led to record-breaking inflation and kicked the door open for waste, fraud, and abuse.
But it seems like the oversight strategy is simply not to look.