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Chairman Smith Opening Statement: Markup of Budget Views and Estimates

February 28, 2023

As prepared for delivery

“We have before us the committee’s Views and Estimates for the fiscal year 2024 Budget.

As the former Republican leader of the House Budget Committee, I have a special appreciation for this step in the annual Congressional budget process. Not only is it helpful to our friends on the Budget Committee; it gives this committee an opportunity to chart a new course for the coming year.

As we make clear in our Views and Estimates, this committee has a lot of important work ahead of it. We must address the various crises the American people face today and build the foundation for a better tomorrow, where American families, farmers, and small businesses can grow and succeed.

This committee will promote workers and help restore the dignity of work that was sadly undermined by Democrat policies which made a job less valuable than a government check.

Instead of concentrating America’s health care decisions into the hands of the Washington bureaucracy, we will strive to give patients more control over their health care. This committee must look at how we can deliver better health outcomes and fewer disparities, while expanding access and lowering costs. We must also protect the engine of health innovation as well as the Medicare program which millions of seniors rely on.

Our respect for seniors won’t end with the Medicare program. We will also work to strengthen Social Security – which is more important than ever now that the President’s inflation crisis has pushed Social Security further towards insolvency. To protect our seniors, we must ensure the Administration is being a good steward of the program and its resources.

Our tax policy efforts will be focused on relief for working families not handouts for woke corporate special interests or imposing $4 trillion worth of tax increases on Americans like President Biden proposed in his last budget. We will pursue policies that bring down the cost of living, strengthen our supply chains, and support a healthier economy where small businesses can thrive rather than just struggle to get by.

While the Biden Administration has been out to lunch on America’s trade priorities, we will work to protect and increase America’s economic interests and opportunity while standing up for our values and our intellectual property – both of which are under attack by an increasingly aggressive Chinese Communist Party. We will use every tool we have – whether its tax policy, trade policy, our oversight efforts – to combat China.

Given this committee’s responsibility to ensure America meets its debt obligations, we will engage in negotiations over the current debt limit increase in a manner that is also respectful to American taxpayers and mindful of our nation’s unsustainable debt trajectory. The Congressional Budget Office just told us that absent action by Congress, this year’s deficit will be $1.4 trillion, the fourth highest figure in American history, amounting to 5.4 percent of GDP – a substantial increase over the 50-year average of 3.6 percent. Deficits are projected to total over $20 trillion over the coming decade and gross federal debt to climb to $52 trillion.

Embedded in every policy priority will be a commitment to aggressive oversight – whether it’s the IRS’s seemingly chronic abuse of taxpayers or the rampant fraud within our nation’s unemployment insurance program.

I appreciate my colleagues on the committee for their dedication to this committee and look forward to working with all of you as we execute an agenda that speaks to the needs of America’s working families, farmers, and job creators.”