WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) gave remarks on the Senate floor about the increasing cost and negative effects that the Democrat's legislative priorites will have on the American people.
To watch Senator Blackburn’s speech, click below or here.
You can read the transcript below or in the Congressional Record.
Madam President, I imagine many of us in this Chamber had a wonderful week talking with Tennesseans--with our constituents.
In Tennessee, I will tell you this: We had a fabulous week. And everywhere I went, whether it was the grocery store or somewhere with the grandchildren, I was hearing from people about the issues that are in front of us, and they are really curious to see what is going to end up happening as we take up issues here in DC.
And I talked with a lot of our county mayors, who are quite concerned about what is happening with the American Recovery Act funding and how they are going to be able to use that funding.
They are very concerned about the infrastructure bill, and, you know, they were really a little bit surprised to find out that so little of the bill actually goes to infrastructure. I think they were really disappointed in that because what they are interested in is money for roads and bridges and highways and ports and broadband, and were really disappointed in the emphasis in the bill on mass transit.
So what we have realized is that they have a lot of questions. They look around and they say: Well, in Washington, you have got a lot of spinning wheels going on and not a lot of forward motion.
And I have to agree because, in Washington, it does appear that the President and many of my Democrat colleagues are spinning their wheels in the same rut that they were stuck in before the holiday, proving once again that, while they understand very little about the economy, they understand even less about where the American people are.
Since day 1 of this administration, the White House has made it clear that governing is not a priority. Governing--working with the House, working with the Senate to find solutions.
But, instead, this administration is doing all it can to force the country onto a path that the people have said time and again they don't want to travel this path. It is not where they want to go.
By all accounts, businesses are, at least, a year out from a return to normal, which we continue to hear a lot about that. Everybody would like to be back to prepandemic normal.
Our supply chains are a mess. Ships that are loaded with goods cannot get to ports. Inflation is, unfortunately, here to stay. It definitely wasn't transitory. Families are having an increasingly difficult time putting food on the table and gas in the car because a dollar doesn't go as far as it once went, and this is something every family is wrestling with.
Even with all of this right in front of their faces, my Democratic colleagues are more concerned with how they will leverage these problems rather than how they are going to solve these problems. What solutions that they have proposed are completely divorced from reality and come loaded with more internal political strife than they are worth.
This, of course, is the logical conclusion of a year where consensus took a backseat to the whims of the loudest and most radical leftist wing of the Democratic Party. Over the past week, the media has dripped out story after story covering the cost of inflation, the consequences of failing to fund the government, and the upcoming debate over the debt limit. And if you thought the message coming from the White House and from my Democratic colleagues in response to all this was jumbled before, prepare yourself for something even more chaotic in the days to come.
My colleagues across the aisle, unfortunately, still seem to be under the impression that Senate Republicans are going to band together to save them from the hole they have dug for themselves. They think we are going to endorse fiscal policy so destructive that many experts who are normally friendly to the White House have refused to support these ideas--and with good reason. They are a socialist, government- controlled agenda.
We have been down this road before. So my Democratic colleagues know that going through the motions of bipartisanship isn't going to be enough because we went through this months ago with the debt ceiling and on the matter of funding the government. We would have settled all of these issues months ago if the majority had their priorities in line and if they could articulate clearly to the American people what the priorities are, what the problems are, what the challenges are, and bring forward solutions for the
American people to look at and say: Yeah, that makes sense. But that is not what they have done and what they continue to do.
Here is the problem with where they are: The priorities of the Democratic Party are not the priorities of the American people. Out in the real world, inflation is a problem. Spending and debt--all of that means something. How you spend your money means something. People understand that. They get it.
But according to the majority here in the Democratic-controlled Senate, none of these things actually matter in practice. In fact, the past few months have shown us that among Democrats, there is no real consensus about what, if anything, these major debates mean to them or what is the end game. It is amazing. They can't tell you. If you are here to solve problems or create problems, people are going to figure that out--the American people are. And they know that the question should be: Are you here to solve problems or create problems for your political enemies in a way that ensures you are punishing people?
Now, that is the question that people are asking. Is the debt limit a legal fiction or a meaningful check on reckless spending? That is a question that we have heard. Is it just something that gets tossed around? Is funding the government part of your duty or is the appropriations debate just fuel for talking points?
I think we know the majority's answers to all of these questions, and I think their answer is probably coming down on the wrong side of where the American people are.
Those looking for good faith from the White House are seeming to not find it, nor are they finding any evidence that Democrats in Congress are aware of their moral obligation to be discerning and truthful about how they plan to spend trillions in taxpayer money. There is a reason that the Democrats lied about the costs associated with their massive social spending bill, which reflects the priorities of liberal, leftist activists rather than the priorities of the American people.
They claimed it was paid for, but in reality it will add $367 billion to the deficit and cost taxpayers more than another $400 billion. That is why they have not been truthful with the American people that needed more buy-in in order for the Democrats to make this happen--even when they knew the CBO report was going to come and show how much debt was going to be added if this bill got passed.
They know the people don't want this big spending bill. They know that the American people know that we cannot afford this. Our children and our grandchildren cannot afford this bill. As my colleague from Texas was saying, it is not $1.5 trillion or $1.75 trillion. It is trillions--trillions--of dollars in spending. And we know how some across the aisle are kind of, with a wink-wink and a nod-nod, saying: Yes, let's get these on the books, and then things will take care of themselves.
This week, we are facing the prospect of yet another government shutdown, which means another eleventh-hour opportunity for my Democratic colleagues to complain about Republican obstruction. But what the Democrats in the media and the liberal activists need to realize is that Republicans are not the problem here.
The Democrats are in charge of this Chamber, the House, and the White House. And not even the Democrats in power can agree on how much they want to spend and how they want to spend it. If they had consensus and if that consensus came from listening to the people that elected them to serve, we wouldn't be staring at the prospect of another government shutdown. No, you would see Democrats marching to the Chamber in lockstep to vote for a continuing resolution that reflects goals that don't change with the news cycle.
But there is no consensus. The people driving the ship have lost all sense of direction, and in doing so, they are losing the faith the American people have put in them. In Tennessee, we would say that our friends across the aisle are in the middle of a good old-fashioned come-apart, and there is one way and only one way to reverse the damage, and that is to stop worrying about politics and pushing a leftist agenda and start worrying about meeting the needs of the American people--not only today but the needs of our children and grandchildren. What are we going to do to their hopes and their dreams for living their version of the American dream?
So we should agree, no more blame, no more budget gimmicks--open our eyes to the reality of the situation that we are dealing with. We have a job to do here, and the sooner my Democratic colleagues remember that fact, the sooner they will be able to earn back the faith and the trust of the American people. That is priority No. 1, and it is time for my colleagues to prove that they understand it.