WASHINGTON, DC – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) released the following statement after the Consumer Price Index showed inflation remaining at a 41-year high of 6.4 percent, and prices having risen 14.4 percent since President Biden took his oath of office:
“Working Americans need relief from President Biden’s ongoing inflation crisis. Last week, the Ways and Means Committee heard directly from workers, parents, and small business owners in West Virginia about their struggle to keep up with the cost of living after two years of Democrats’ reckless spending agenda. President Biden is in denial and has no plan to stop the inflation he started. In his State of the Union address to the nation, the President promised more of the same reckless spending, welfare for the wealthy, and Green New Deal handouts that have made everything from gas to groceries unaffordable for working Americans.
“House Republicans’ first step to fighting inflation is to put a stop to the wasteful Washington spending that has robbed workers of two months’ pay and jeopardized America’s long-term fiscal health. With the ongoing negotiations over the debt ceiling, President Biden and congressional Democrats have an opportunity to come to the table and work with Republicans to find common-sense solutions to root out wasteful spending that is fueling inflation.
“At the Ways & Means Committee, we will look to advance policies which will help workers, families, small business owners, and farmers trying to find relief from the economic hardships created by one party rule in Washington. An economy that is strong starts with actually listening to the working-class Americans who are struggling within it every day, and sourcing their ideas and solutions for how to once again drive job growth, wage growth and financial security.”
The Consequences of Democrat Spending
The highest spike in prices coupled with the fastest increase in interest rates in 40 years.
- Inflation is at a 41-year high of 6.4 percent.
- Inflation has increased 14.4 percent since President Biden took office.
- Real wages have decreased 3.9 percent since President Biden took office.
- The average mortgage payment is 28 percent higher than one year ago.
- Interest rates in the last year have increased more than in the previous 15 years combined.
In Their Own Words: Working Americans Tell the Real State of the Union
In West Virginia, the Ways and Means Committee heard from working Americans about how inflation has affected their everyday lives.
- Ashley Bachman, mom of 3 and local restaurant owner: “Unfortunately, after COVID we have been hit with another crisis. The crisis of rising costs of everything. This has proven to be a much tougher task than what we dealt with during the COVID regulations.
“We have had to change our menu prices countless times just to make sure that we don’t go out of business. We still are not charging enough for our menu items because we are afraid that we will price ourselves out of business…We have taken a hit in business so far, these past two quarters, having less customers coming in.“Our kitchen cooking equipment runs off propane…
During some months, the cost of propane has more than doubled the price that it was in the corresponding months of 2020. The rise in price in all other energy costs has caused our lease payment to be increased from $2000 to $4500 a month in only 5 years’ time. Our little restaurant has been bleeding money due to all the increased costs and I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to continue with the prices the way they are…”
- Tom Plaugher, vice president of operations at a West Virginia lumber company and a 25-year employee: “I have heard it said many times that higher costs don’t really affect businesses and that they simply pass that additional cost along to their customer. It does not work that way in our industry…If the price for our lumber becomes too high, customers will simply look for a cheaper alternative or a replacement product.”
- Wylie McDade, Navy veteran and co-owner of a local distillery: “Despite input cost increases, we are reluctant to raise prices and have not done so…However, it comes at great cost – growth. Our workforce should consist of seven to ten in order to work the distillery…yet we do so with five.
“Our community outlook is positive, but this is West Virginia and Mountaineers inherently know how to do more with less.
“We need lower and more consistent fuel prices…”