At Subcommittee Hearing, Democrats Highlight Historic Investments to Lower Costs for American Families
Washington, D.C. (March 10, 2023)—Rep. Katie Porter, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services, led the Subcommittee in examining how Congressional Democrats and the Biden-Harris Administration’s decisive actions have helped lower costs for American families.
“If American fiscal policy created a preventable crisis that’s being felt in countries across the globe, then American fiscal policy should equally be able to solve that preventable crisis. So what policies do Republicans think will solve global inflation? Is it deep cuts to social programs like Social Security and Medicare that would devastate our seniors and working families? Or, maybe it’s just the REIN IN Act, which Republicans passed last week,” said Ranking Member Porter in her opening statement. “Either way, the REIN IN Act still just commissions a report. It takes no real action. If that was House Republicans’ secret plan to fight inflation, it’s going to be a long two years.”
The hearing included testimony from Republican-invited witnesses Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of the American Action Forum, and John B. Taylor, Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics at Stanford University. The hearing also featured the testimony of Democratic-invited witness Mike Konczal, Director, Macroeconomic Analysis at the Roosevelt Institute.
Democrats and Mr. Konzcal emphasized how historic investments resulting from the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act have helped place the United States on a path to economic recovery during a global pandemic.
- Mr. Konczal and Rep. Greg Casar agreed that “smart, targeted government investments” can work to bring prices down. Mr. Konzcal continued: “A strong characteristic of this recovery has been a lot of job openings. Though the labor market has recovered quite rapidly to pre-pandemic levels, we knew, pre-pandemic, we were still missing millions of people who could be working as a result of lack of access to child care, lack of other kinds of care infrastructure, and that problem is still with us even after the pandemic.” Mr. Konczal added, “We knew this was a problem in 2019 and it still remains with us.”
- Rep. Greg Casar harkened back to his City Council days, noting: “I, as a City Council Member saw the American Rescue Plan not only create millions of jobs, but saved people’s lives. And if we make sure we make smart investments that actually support the American worker and bolster our economy we can make those kinds of investments in ways that actually bring prices downward.”
Democrats and witnesses explored how corporate greed, the global pandemic, supply chain shortages, and Russia’s unlawful war on Ukraine contributed to inflation.
- Rep. Becca Balint said: “One of the premises of this hearing is that the Biden policies have been reckless, that the policies of the Biden Administration have added to the deficit, and I just want to be rooted in fact here, which is that the new budget that has been proposed will actually cut the deficit by nearly $3 trillion.”
- All three witnesses agreed that inflation is a multifaceted, global phenomenon when Rep. Jasmine Crockett asked: “Would you all agree with me that the inflation we’re experiencing in the United States is not solely because of one person being in the White House, but this is inflation that has effected the entire world?”
- Rep. Becca Balint said: “Last year, as so many Vermont families like mine saw their grocery bills, their gas bills skyrocket, we know that many American companies were posting record profits and according to a staff analysis by the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy this past fall, there’s clear evidence that shows record price hikes, record profits, profit margins that not only helped to drive inflation but are also continuing to keep prices high.”
Republicans and their witnesses doubled down on their ‘do-nothing’ approach to inflation.
- When Ranking Member Porter asked Republican witness Douglas Holtz-Eakin what Congress should do to reduce inflation, he replied “Please don’t try,” adding that inflation should be addressed only by the Federal Reserve. Rep. Porter responded: “The solution here isn’t to cut spending programs that people rely on, the solution here is to support working families as we get through this really difficult economic period.”
- In her closing statement, Ranking Member Porter offered additional actions the federal government could take to address inflation: “We can keep making our tax code more fair, we can crack down on tax cheats so that we can increase tax revenue, we can pay down debt and cool inflation, we can keep fighting corporate monopolies so that our markets can be more competitive and can deliver lower costs.” She added, “We can keep shoring up supply chains, bringing manufacturing back home and helping smooth the transport of goods to market, we can invest in long term structural investments that will do right by our economy—things like infrastructure, things like renewable energy, because these investments pay off in the long run with lower costs for families and a stronger, more stable more resilient economy that’s less vulnerable to inflationary shocks.” Rep. Porter concluded: “It’s possible to do all of these things together but we can’t use inflation as a convenient scapegoat to cut programs that seniors and kids and families rely on.”