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Chairman Smith Opening Statement – Hearing with Treasury Secretary Yellen

April 30, 2024

“Instead of allowing families hit by these high prices to keep more of their hard-earned money, President Biden wants the highest tax increase on families and small businesses in American history.”

As prepared for delivery.

“Thank you, Secretary Yellen, for appearing before this Committee.

“I understand that it was 30 years ago this week that you were first nominated to a public sector role, as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. It’s a noteworthy record of service. I congratulate you, and I appreciate your willingness to answer our members’ questions today.

“You’ve joined the recent chorus of economists who acknowledge that it was a mistake to call inflation ‘transitory.’ But it’s worth noting the fundamental mistake: President Biden’s reckless tax and spend policies that have sent the cost-of-living skyrocketing almost 20 percent since he took office.

“Families pay more today for pretty much everything than the day Joe Biden was sworn in. Real wages are almost 4 percent lower than when he became President. The Federal Reserve has hiked borrowing rates to try to control inflation. Mortgage payments for the median priced new home are now nearly $1,200 higher per month. Prices at the store are up. The cost of a gallon of gas is roughly 50 percent higher today than when President Biden took office – these are the facts. This is the reality American families are living in President Biden’s economy.

“Instead of allowing families hit by these high prices to keep more of their hard-earned money, President Biden wants the highest tax increase on families and small businesses in American history.

“Last week, President Biden called for the Trump tax cuts to expire, promising, ‘If I’m re-elected, it’s going to stay expired.’ So President Biden’s plan is for the average family of four making $75,000 to pay an extra $1,500 to the IRS each year.

“President Biden’s promise is that the Child Tax Credit will be slashed in half.

“President Biden’s promise is that small businesses will face a 43.4 percent tax rate.

“President Biden’s promise is that family farms will be forced to sell off to big corporations to pay the death tax.

“In his latest budget, President Biden continues breaking his promise to not raise taxes on families making less than $400,000.

“Under the President’s plan, seniors will see more of their life savings captured by the federal government. Small businesses will be taxed on their sweat equity and face tax rates approaching 50 percent. Energy producers will pay more, weakening America’s energy independence.

“Madame Secretary, your own department’s data show that millions of Americans earning less than $400,000 will end up paying a portion of your proposed business tax increases.

“That’s on top of the new audits that will be coming from the IRS, which you conceded in this Committee last year. Over 90 percent of those audits will fall on middle-class earners and small businesses.

“To add insult to injury, under one-party rule, Democrats spent billions of taxpayer dollars on welfare for the wealthy and well-connected. They gave the wealthy tax credits for leasing or buying luxury electric vehicles, while working families got higher prices from the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act.”

“Under that same law, the Biden Administration is sending billions of taxpayer dollars to Chinese companies tied to their communist government, all in the name of climate change.

“China is an adversarial nation spreading its influence around the world at the expense of American workers and producers. America should be standing up to China’s unfair practices, not using tax dollars to make us even more dependent on China.

“The record of the 2017 Trump tax cuts could not be more different than the policies of this Admnistration. The Congressional Budget Office found that after that law went into effect, the share of taxes paid by the top 1 percent of households increased while the burden falling on lower income earners decreased.

“Real median household income increased by $5,000, a bigger gain than the prior eight years combined. The officially reported poverty rate dropped to its lowest level in U.S. history, and black and Hispanic unemployment reached historic lows.

“We reversed the decades-long trend of American companies picking up and moving their jobs, factories, and money overseas.

“Beyond our borders, the Biden Administration has adopted a posture of surrender and retreat.

“The OECD global tax deal the Administration is trying to negotiate would surrender America’s tax revenue and jobs to foreign countries. Congress writes the laws, not bureaucrats negotiating behind closed doors. This deal has no path forward in Congress.

“I hope today we can get some answers on why President Biden insists on tax hikes for working families, while the wealthy and well-connected receive cash handouts for their Green New Deal spending.

“Thank you for appearing here today, and I look forward to your testimony.”