Jun 15, 2022
House GOP leaders hold press conference 6/14/22 Transcript
House Republican leaders hold a press conference following meeting on 6/14/22. Read the transcript here.
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Mike Johnson: (00:00)
Well, good morning, everybody. I’m I’m Mike Johnson of the 4th district of Louisiana. I’m the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference. We’re delighted to be with you this morning. There are a lot of things on the minds of the American people, and it’s really not January 6th.
Mike Johnson: (00:16)
Democrats have enjoyed unilateral control of Washington for 17 months now. And we all know the results. Everybody can see what has been wrought by that. We’ve got record inflation, soar and gas prices, unhinged crime in our cities, and uninhibited illegal immigration. And in the midst of all of that chaos, what are they focused on? What gets their primetime billing? It is their seething hatred for Donald Trump and anybody who’s ever supported him. That’s what comes through in all of these hearings. For nearly a year, you got to think about this. The January 6th committee for almost a year, they have invested thousands of hours, millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars.
Mike Johnson: (00:56)
They’ve interviewed hundreds upon hundreds of witnesses, like about 100,000 pages of documents. And they hired lawyers, consultants, and big network TV producers, all for what? To rehash and replay a moment by moment dissection of a terrible event that took place a year and a half ago. They thought the American people would be riveted by their production, but the ratings are in and we know the truth. That the ratings have proven what everybody else already knew. The American people lived through all that and they have moved on. They moved on to caring about the issues that actually affect their daily lives. The criminals involved in January 6th are being prosecuted. Lessons were learned about Capitol security that day. And the Senate produced a bipartisan report of the events over a year ago.
Mike Johnson: (01:41)
The truth is this. The Democrats could hire an army of broadcast media executives to try to boost their ratings, but it will not change this simple facts. This election will be about three Is and really nothing else. Inflation, illegal immigration, and incompetence. The utter incompetence of the Democrats in charge of Washington is on full display now. If the Democrats want to reverse their political fortunes, they need to reverse their policies. But of course, we all know they refuse to do that. And so hardworking American families will continue to struggle as our country becomes less safe, less secure, and less stable by the hour. I’m grateful to my colleagues for joining us this morning to discuss the myriad crises facing our country that are taking a backseat to the Democrat reality show. I want to yield the podium to my good friend, the gentleman from Arkansas, Mr. French Hill.
French Hill: (02:35)
Thank you, Mike. French Hill. I represent the second congressional district in Arkansas. On Monday as Arkansas families were filling up for the week, they got word that gas hit an all time high in Arkansas, $4.54. A little shy of what it is here in DC. And the national average crossed $5. Hardworking American families are being punished. Inflation is costing the average American household an extra $460 per month for that gas, their food, their groceries.
French Hill: (03:13)
Our seniors on fixed income are being robbed daily by what is an insipid thief, inflation. First, the Biden administration informed all of us that inflation was transitory. Then they told us that inflation had peaked. Last week’s CPI numbers tell another story. And in fact, Biden’s policies have resulted in inflation being entrenched. As our economy reopened in late 2020, our kids went back to school. Our businesses figured out how to cope with the daily threat of COVID. And Operation WARP Speed delivered therapeutics and vaccines. House and Senate Republicans successfully worked to tailor and end the massive federal fiscal stimulus and the Fed’s intervention.
French Hill: (04:12)
As Biden took office, we urged him give flexibility for the trillion dollars of money left unspent from the COVID support. Work with Republicans to get people back to work. Leading Democratic economists, former treasury secretary, Larry Summers, Steve Ratner, Jason Furman urged restraint as well arguing that high inflation was the likely outcome of the Biden policies, but Joe Biden and his administration and House Democrats did not listen. President Biden and his team followed the siren song of the false gods of modern monetary theory that you can borrow and spend your way to prosperity. And Biden last week in the Oval Office says he wants the Federal Reserve to do its job and that he will not interfere with the Fed’s independence.
French Hill: (05:08)
House Democrats are, once again, to step on his incoherence with some of their own. Instead of focusing on sound money and fighting inflation to help all American families, House Democrats are bringing to the floor this week HR2543, demanding that the Federal Reserve be distracted by a new mandate. The mandate of closing all socioeconomic disparities. This is not their job. This takes their eye off the ball of fighting inflation. This interferes with their statutory obligation and their independence.
French Hill: (05:50)
The Fed’s job is sound money. The legislative branch and the states can work and be the ones working toward policies that relate to equal opportunity. House Democrats should work with Republicans on reigning in spending and solutions that lower costs for American families. That means returning to pre pandemic levels of federal spending priorities. Let’s stop paying folks not to work. Let’s unleash domestic energy production by ending regulatory burdens that are discouraging oil and gas production and transportation. And let’s focus the Federal Reserve to laser in on its core obligation, sound money, their mandate of price stability, which is why I’m so glad that I share the stage today with Byron Donalds, because he and I have the Price Stability Act. And we want that Fed to laser beam focus on that core mandate of sound money and price stability. It’s my privilege to introduce my good friend from Tennessee, the representative from the first district, Diana Harshburg.
Diana Harshburg: (06:57)
Thank you, French. Thank you, [inaudible 00:06:57] Scalise and Vice Chair Johnson. I’m going to talk to you as the only mother and grandmother on this stage. I’m going to talk to the families across East Tennessee and the families across America. Summer is a season that people look forward to the most. They look forward to family cookouts, to vacations, sporting events, and summer camps, and many other summer pastimes. But this year, no one is getting a break. And let me tell you why. Parents in every state have a very real fear about the reality of this summer and what it means for their family’s budgets. Imagine that. Most American families operate within a budget unlike the federal government. Prices haven’t stopped soaring and every day there’s a new jaw dropping increase at the pump, the grocery store, the pharmacy, and bills are getting harder and harder to pay because it cost the average American family $5,000 more a year for the same things they purchased the previous year.
Diana Harshburg: (07:56)
The sad truth is that President Biden’s irresponsible and expensive policies, American families are paying more for so much less. And this summer, we’re on track to experience the worst inflation in 40 years. 40 years, I’ve been married that long. That’s a long time to have such high inflation.
Diana Harshburg: (08:16)
And let me tell you something else. There’s one thing that’s near and dear to my heart. And that’s air conditioning. With energy services up over 16% higher than usual, basic necessities are going to be priced out of reach for working class families. So that tells me it’s going to be one hot, hot summer, and it isn’t just summer ruining news. This is a crisis of epic proportions that could have been avoided and still can be stopped. The consumer price index is higher than it has been in almost half a century, meaning that your hard earned paycheck isn’t worth much compared to two years ago. American families are suffering and pleading for relief and the Biden administration has cared more about going woke than helping Americans who are going broke because of bad for business and budget busting spending.
Diana Harshburg: (09:04)
It’s time for the Biden and the Democrats to wake up and realize nothing is free. Somebody pays for it. And that’s you and me as taxpayers. Americans are praying more than they can afford for these crazy policies. And they’ve had enough. I can ask anybody in my district. They’ve had enough. We want our summer back. We want our freedom back. And most importantly, we want our country back on track and on the right track. And with that, I’m going to turn it over to my freshman colleague from the great state of Florida, Mr. Byron Donald.
Byron Donald: (09:40)
Thank you, Diana. Look, let’s just get right to it, everybody. It’s going to cost the average American about $500 more a month to just live. How does that help middle income families in our country? How does that help poor families in our country? How does it help seniors on fixed income in our country? It does not. When Joe Biden, when he first came in and he said he added a plan to save America, his American Rescue Plan, House Republicans told him that was going to be a disaster for America. We said it was going to lead to inflation. It did. We said it was going to create a labor shortage. It did. And so now, right now in the budget committee, House Democrats are having a hearing to talk about all of the importance of the American Rescue Plan. Folks. We know the truth. If your plan worked, you don’t have the hold congressional hearings to prove it.
Byron Donald: (10:29)
The proof is in the pudding. Every American would know it. If you’re filling up a suburban anywhere in the United States, it’s going to cost you about $125 to $145 to fill it up. That $145 to fill up your suburban, just to pick up your kids from practice, to go back and forth, to work that’s money you don’t have to put food on the table, but guess what? The food to put on the table costs more too. So that takes away from you being able to have fun this summer, like Diana was just talking about. You can’t take that vacation. You can’t go buy that new article of clothing. You can’t go do the next thing that you choose to do. This inflation is the largest tax increase on poor families and middle income families in decades in the United States, all brought to us by Joe Biden. Frankly, a president who has no idea how an economy actually works.
Byron Donald: (11:18)
This White House likes to talk about building an economy for the middle class. That’s literally what they were saying yesterday. The president’s probably going to say it in about an hour in Philadelphia. Well, guess what, folks? An economy for the middle class doesn’t work if the economy doesn’t work. The late, great Margaret Thatcher said it better than any of us ever could. Joe Biden and the Democrats will prefer the poor be poorer, so the rich are less rich.
Byron Donald: (11:44)
Joe Biden would prefer to build an economy that doesn’t work for anybody as opposed to letting the free market, and yes, trickle down economics, which does work actually flourish in the United States. Joe Biden and House Democrats will prefer we talk more about Uvalde, the tragedy that we all care about, they will care more about talking about… We’re talking about dog collars and oversight later today or tomorrow. They would prefer to talk about January 6th than actually do the job here in Congress, and actually work on supply chain, work on energy, work on inflation, and do our job for the American people.
Byron Donald: (12:24)
And last thing I’ll say is this. For the people amongst the House Democrats and among the administration who say, oh, just go buy an electric car. It’s better. Your electric car costs about $55,000 to $60,000 on average. Most Americans can’t afford that, but then if you added 1 million more electric cars to the electric grid, there’s not enough energy on the electric grid to actually power the electric cars you actually want to get in the United States. Oh, and by the way, when Joe Biden unleashed the Defense Production Act last week for solar panels, where do we get those solar panels from? We don’t mine that stuff in the United States folks. That comes from China.
Byron Donald: (13:04)
So this administration would rather us take our resources, which are buying less product in the United States for our families and ship those resources off to China to help the Chinese grow their economies while Americans suffer here at home. It just doesn’t work folks. I don’t need a congressional hearing to explain it. I see it every single day. Every American sees it every single day and House Republicans are committed to reversing course, and getting our nation back on track. With that, I’m going to yield to our WHIP, Mr. [inaudible 00:13:34] Scalise from the great state of Louisiana.
Rep. Scalise: (13:38)
Thank you, Byron. And President Biden’s inflation increasing agenda is crushing the American dream for millions of families across the country. We’ve heard some of the stories, families are already talking about canceling their summer vacation, not just because of the inflation, but because they can’t even afford to fill their gas tank because gas prices are so high, more than double where they were when Joe Biden took the oath of office. If you look at all of the different crises that we’ve been talking about for the last year and a half that have been added onto and created by this president from inflation to high gas prices, to the border crisis, to crime that’s running rampant throughout our country, let alone the foreign policy debacles that we’ve seen over and over again, it’s costing families thousands of dollars more.
Rep. Scalise: (14:30)
Just think about this. Last week, the House Natural Resources Committee, which is the committee that has jurisdiction over energy policy, along with the house energy and commerce committee held a hearing. Now you would think with skyrocketing gas prices, the Natural Resources Committee would hold a hearing about how to lower gas prices. They could actually move legislation that we’ve recommended and urged them to take up two lower gas prices at the pump today. But no, that’s not what they had the hearing on.
Rep. Scalise: (14:59)
The Natural Resources Committee had a hearing on big cats. That’s right. Amidst this gas crisis that’s crushing American families taking money out of their pockets every single week when they fill up their vehicle. Instead of having a hearing on how to lower gas prices, they had a hearing on big cats. That is how to out of touch Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats here in Washington are with the American people. In fact, Joe Biden is getting ready to announce in the next few days that he’s going to fly to Saudi Arabia to beg them to produce more oil.
Rep. Scalise: (15:32)
Just think about the lunacy of that. So Joe Biden, who talks about global warming all the time, I wonder how many people are going to ask Joe Biden what the carbon footprint of his trip to Saudi Arabia is? Over 5,000 miles traveled to go to Saudi Arabia, to beg Saudi princes to produce more oil after he begged Vladimir Putin to produce more oil. And Putin said no. Few weeks ago, when he tried to call Saudi to produce more oil, they didn’t even return his phone call. Joe Biden, you do not need to go to Saudi Arabia to find a way to produce more energy. It’s right here in America. In fact, you can go less than a thousand miles to Port Fourchon, Louisiana, in my district, the hub of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, where Joe Biden shut down production on American lands, shut down American energy. He could fly less than a thousand miles.
Rep. Scalise: (16:26)
And by the way, I can tell you President Biden, you don’t have to wonder what the answer will be. If you ask them if they’ll produce more energy in Port Fourchon in Louisiana, their answer will be yes, because they know how to produce good clean American energy. By the way, cleaner than anywhere else in the world. Don’t fly over 5,000 miles to Saudi Arabia where you don’t know the answer because they’re a cartel. OPEC is a cartel. It’s a monopoly. They like a higher price of gasoline. But even if they said yes, first of all, the energy they produce is not as clean as what we produce in America, because we have the best standards. But what also is critically important is that by saying no to American energy as Joe Biden did day one when he came into the White House, by going and asking Saudi to produce more energy. That takes more money out of America’s coffers.
Rep. Scalise: (17:16)
So America actually makes next to income that people write their taxes to the IRS from, the largest producing federal agency for tax revenue is the Department of Interior drilling on federal and state lands. Public and private lands generates more income than any other agency next to the IRS. And that money is depleting. That revenue is depleting. You know what else it means? States like Louisiana actually share in the revenue when they drill for oil. So my colleagues in North Dakota are seeing a huge decrease in their school budgets because Joe Biden shut down American energy and that takes money out of their school systems coffers. In Louisiana, we actually used the revenue from drilling to restore our coast. Something that’s been an environmental tragedy going on for decades our state finally stepped up and said we’re going to dedicate the lion’s share of our drilling revenue to rebuild land, so we don’t have as strong of hurricanes that hit where people are.
Rep. Scalise: (18:13)
And that’s something we’ve been working on for decades. And Joe Biden has taken that away. So President Biden, don’t expend the massive carbon footprint to fly over 5,000 miles to Saudi and beg them to drill for more oil. And they might even say no. Just fly right down to any part of the United States like Port Fusan where the answer will be yes to clean American energy. We know the answers. Republicans have been laying out these answers for over a year. What we need is a president who’s willing to listen, who’s actually willing to work with people on the other side to address these serious problems that are facing the hard working families all across the country who are struggling. We’re going to continue to do that. We’re going to continue to reach out and offer these solutions. Hopefully one day, President Biden will finally stop flying to foreign countries and asking them for help when the answer is, yes, right here in the United States of America, if he just asked the question. With that, we’ll be happy to take any of your questions. Yeah?
Speaker 6: (19:08)
What do you think of the Senate’s bipartisan framework to alleviate gun violence? Is that something that you think could get a public support in the House?
Rep. Scalise: (19:16)
Yeah. As you’ve seen, they’ve laid out a framework, but still no details. And obviously the details matter. They matter a lot. So until we see any specifics, that is something that we’re going to continue to watch to see what comes from the Senate. Obviously, you saw in the house last week, Speaker Pelosi’s approach has been to make it harder for law abiding citizens to get guns. President Biden even talked about taking handguns away from people. So that’s not the answer. We brought up a motion to recommit an amendment last week by Richard Hudson that would have created more opportunities for schools to have funding for hardening of the schools, to put more resource officers, to put more mental health counselors in the schools. Every Democrat voted against that amendment unfortunately. So we’re going to continue working on ideas that would actually solve the problem. Yeah?
Speaker 7: (20:04)
[inaudible 00:20:04] protection bill that’s being [inaudible 00:20:08].
Rep. Scalise: (20:08)
Yeah. If you go back over a month, we’ve been asking Speaker Pelosi to bring the bill that went out of the Senate unanimously. She was holding the bill. Then she was trying to play games with the bill. Last week, we called them out. I during my [inaudible 00:20:21] asked Leader Hoyer if he would bring the bill up unamended so that we can get it to the president’s desk quickly, especially on the heels of a man arrested for trying to kill Justice Kavanaugh. And I know Leader McCarthy expressed the same urgency to Speaker Pelosi. So hopefully we finally get that bill on the floor clean. It will pass overwhelmingly. I think you’ll see the lions share of Republicans and Democrats vote for that bill. It just begs a question, why did Speaker Pelosi delay it for over a month? Yes.
Speaker 8: (20:49)
We’re expecting possibly tomorrow a SCOTUS on the fate of Roe. If the leak does prove correctly, your reaction to Roe being overturned and saving the lives of the unborn.
Rep. Scalise: (20:59)
Well, I’m hopeful that the Supreme Court overturns the bad precedent that Roe set and allows elected leaders to make these decisions on how best to protect life. Whether it be members of Congress or state legislatures who have already been having robust debates in these last few weeks. So I’m hopeful that they come up with that ruling. It hasn’t come out yet. So I don’t want to be presumptuous. I continue to pray for the right ruling and I pray for the health and safety of the Supreme Court justices and their families with what right now is a lack of enforcement of federal law by the Justice Department. And when is the Justice Department going to enforce federal law to protect those justices and their families at their homes?
Speaker 8: (21:41)
Some on the Senate side are calling for President Biden to address this issue to the American people that they should be prosecuted.
Rep. Scalise: (21:48)
Yeah. It’s interesting why President Biden’s been silent on death threats on… I mean, he was even earlier weeks ago encouraging people to go to the houses of Supreme Court justices when it’s a violation of federal law to try to threaten, bully, and intimidate a judge of any kind, to change their opinion on an issue before the court.
Speaker 7: (22:09)
Mr. King, yesterday we saw evidence of Trump’s inner circle all Republicans who said starting soon after election day told the former president that he lost, but he continued to push false claims. Is it time for the former president to stop pushing out these false allegations about election fraud?
Rep. Scalise: (22:29)
Well, look, you’ve seen a number of states go and fix their laws in the states where you had some of those problems. Not all states have, but you’re still continuing to see states try to address and strengthen their election integrity. And I would encourage them all to have that conversation. We had that in Louisiana years ago when I was a state representative. We had blatant election fraud. In fact, our elections commissioner went to jail and ultimately we cleaned up that office. I was one of the authors of the bill that helped clean the office up. And we’ve had fair elections ever since. Not always producing the outcome we want, but fair. And again, people went to jail along the way for violations of prior infractions that we cleaned up. So I know the Democrats want to keep talking about January 6th every day. That’s not something you hear American people talking about. They want Washington to be focused on the things that are hurting families today, and that is inflation, gas prices, and a border crisis.
Speaker 8: (23:26)
Speaker 7: (23:27)
Yeah, I guess, just to follow up on that though, when you hear the former attorney general and other former administrative officials say that the former president’s fraudulent claims were BS, silly, bogus, nuts. Do any of you on the stage who objected to certifying the results of the election, have any regrets about that vote?
Rep. Scalise: (23:50)
Look, you saw some states not follow their state passed legislation. I mean, the Constitution doesn’t say states determine how to pick electors. It says state legislatures determine how to pick electors. That’s something that the Constitution’s very clear about. That wasn’t followed in all cases, but ultimately there’s some people that want to keep re-litigating 2020. I think if you look at most families across the America, they’re angry about the failures of President Biden and they want to see this Congress start addressing those problems instead of just continuing this perpetual hatred of President Trump and using their time and prime time hearings to go after President Trump.
Rep. Scalise: (24:29)
I still beg the question. When is there going to be a prime time hearing by Speaker Pelosi on the inflation crisis across America or on high gas crisis or on the border crisis in this country? They won’t have those hearings because they don’t want to address those problems. We’ve laid out over and over how to solve these problems. It’s not complicated. They just don’t want to work with Republicans to address it. And that’s unfortunate because it’s hurting families and will continue to through this hot summer. But thank you. Appreciate it.