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Chairman Smith Remarks: Rules Committee Hearing on Limit, Grow, Save Act

April 25, 2023 — Opening Statements    — Press Releases   

As prepared for delivery.

“Thank you, Chairman Cole and Ranking Member McGovern.

“It is good to be back in front of my friends at the Rules Committee. I have missed you.

“I appreciate the opportunity to testify today on the solutions that Republicans have put forward in the Limit, Save, Grow Act to responsibly address the debt limit while at the same time tackling the nation’s fiscal crisis and stumbling economy.

“To put America’s fiscal house in order, we have to end Washington’s reckless spending habits and we need to grow our economy.

“Thankfully, both of those goals reinforce each other. If we can get spending back down, we can take some fuel off the fire of inflation that has dropped real wages by 3.5 percent and driven prices up nearly 15 percent since Biden took office. It would also give the Federal Reserve less reason to keep raising interest rates which have made life tougher for everyone.

“And what better way to help grow our economy than to help more Americans achieve the dignity of a day’s work? The work requirements in this bill will help more Americans get back in the workforce. Today’s workforce participation rate is still behind where it was before the pandemic. At the Ways and Means Committee, we looked at TANF and the loopholes states use to not fulfill their required workforce participation rates. This legislation closes many of those loopholes and helps return the program to one which can help lift people out of poverty, versus keep them trapped in it.

“As Chairman of Ways and Means, we have started this Congress by holding field hearings in communities across the country to understand better the State of the American Economy. During those hearings, individual after individual has said they do not want more money coming out of Washington. Instead they want Washington to stop taking money out of their pockets – whether in the form of higher taxes or higher inflation.

“Time and time again, Congress has instituted spending reductions and restraints alongside a debt ceiling increase. President Biden voted for such agreements when he was a senator and negotiated them when he was Vice President.

“I understand that my Democrat colleagues may object to some of the policies in this bill. Perhaps you may disagree with the provisions that roll back some of the special interest tax breaks you gave to big corporations and the wealthy in the Inflation Reduction Act. More than 90 percent of green subsidies in that bill will go to companies with over $1 billion in sales. Financial institutions alone take home three times more money from the special interest green corporate welfare in that bill than any other industry.

“Yet, I know many of my colleagues on the other side are also disappointed with how the White House has chosen to implement the IRA — drifting far away from what you voted for and essentially throwing away the law’s domestic content protections. This is making it easier for American tax dollars to flow to China, enriching the Chinese Communist Party, and allowing that country to continue dominating critical mineral supply chains.

“You may object to our efforts to protect the middle class from a supercharged IRS by repealing the funding for 87,000 new IRS employees. As recently as last week, the Biden Administration was claiming taxpayers would be handing over an additional $400 billion to those 87,000 agents. If so, a sizable portion of that is coming out of the pockets of working families. When it comes to those historic audit rates we hear so much about — well, we crunched the numbers and found such audit rates would mean one million new audits with nearly 650,000 of them falling on Americans making $75,000 or less.

“So I say to my colleagues, do not stick your head in the sand and say there can be no discussion about how we get America’s fiscal house in order, when at the same time we are asking the American people to stomach another increase in Congress’s credit limit.

“Let’s do right by America’s working class and get our economy moving again.

Thank you, I yield back.”