At a time when our nation is sharply divided, some on the political left seem determined to drive partisan tensions to a breaking point. This past week, President Biden launched an unprecedented attack on the U.S. Senate by urging members of his own party to destroy the 60-vote threshold that requires broad buy-in for most legislation. Eliminating this rule would allow a bare majority of Senators to pass legislation without seeking minority input, tossing aside two centuries of sound precedent. This would transform the Senate from a unique consensus-building body into a fast-moving conveyor belt for partisan ideas – exactly what the Founding Fathers hoped to avoid.
The President’s goal in all this has been to clear the way for a sweeping federal takeover of our elections with a razor-thin Senate majority. He justified this push by falsely painting sensible state election integrity laws as an attack on voting rights, equating them with “Jim Crow 2.0.” These reckless statements could not be further from the truth. It is easier than ever to vote in all 50 states, as evidenced by the historic voter turnouts in the 2020 and 2021 elections. The President does the nation a grave disservice by repeating falsehoods that are needlessly raising the temperature of our politics.
Despite this shrill rhetoric from the President, two courageous Senators have withstood withering partisan attacks to prevent this assault on the Senate. Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin joined all 50 Republicans in firmly defending the filibuster, with Sinema calling it “a critical tool that we need to safeguard our democracy.” Americans can be grateful that cooler heads prevailed, allowing the Senate to remain a guardrail against election takeovers, socialism, and extreme ideas of all kinds.
Americans Still Facing 40-Year Inflation
While the President stokes division, Americans are continuing to face soaring prices for everyday necessities. The latest consumer price report showed prices rising by seven percent over the past year, the worst inflation in 40 years. The biggest price jumps were for gasoline (49 percent), used cars (37 percent), natural gas (24 percent), and food items, such as meat, poultry, fish, and eggs (12 percent). These exorbitant prices have canceled out three years of wage gains and are a burdensome tax on working Americans.
Inflation is also taking a heavy toll on job creators. Wholesale prices jumped a record 9.7 percent on the year, forcing businesses to pass on higher costs to consumers. Meanwhile, hiring continues to suffer, with half of small businesses saying they have job openings they cannot fill. Our economy produced a mere 199,000 new jobs in December, far below expert predictions, and we are still four million jobs shy of our pre-pandemic economy. Our economy will continue to struggle until we get inflation under control.
Biden Policies Hold Back Recovery
It is increasingly clear that this inflation crisis was ignited last year by the President’s $1.9 trillion spending bill and by his war on U.S. energy production. Instead of changing his policies, however, the President is blaming others. He recently blamed the meat industry for higher meat prices and blamed OPEC, the world’s oil cartel, for high gas prices. Americans deserve a President who has the wisdom to shift course when his policies are hurting the economy.
Recently I met with the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell. We discussed the ways federal overspending has contributed to rising prices, and I was encouraged by his recognition that inflation is a “severe threat.” Republicans stand ready to do our part to beat back inflation. I just hope the President can lay aside his partisan rhetoric and meet us at the table.