Oct 26, 2021
House Republicans Weekly Press Conference Transcript October 26
House GOP leaders held a press conference on October 26, 2021. They discussed the situation on the southern border, taxes, and more. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.
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Open border policies have created the worst border crisis in over 30 years. There have been over 1.4 million illegal border crossings since Joe Biden took office. And in September alone, there were more than 192,000 border apprehensions, a 233% increase from last year and the highest number for September in recorded history. Democrats reckless spending policies have resulted in an economic crisis across America that has families making less and paying more for just about everything as inflation continues to skyrocket. At the pump, American families are paying more. The average cost for a gallon of gas is over $3 in every state across America and much higher in states like California. That’s over a dollar more than last year. Right now, our local communities are also facing a supply chain crisis that’s leaving shelves empty just in times for the holidays and Thanksgiving is shaping up to be the most expensive Thanksgiving meal in the history of the holiday.
And now we see in the Democrats far-left socialist tax and spend multi-trillion dollar behemoth bill that they are warning Americans there will be home heating bills increasing upwards of 54% compared to last winter. These crises hit American families directly and in the midst of this uncertainty heading into the holiday season, Democrats continue to pedal this tax and spend multi-trillion dollar package with far-left socialist policies. Today, you will hear about some of those policies from my colleagues, Congressman Drew Ferguson, the chief deputy whip from Georgia and Kelly Armstrong, who will talk about Joe Biden’s energy crisis. I’m going to turn it over to Drew Ferguson who will talk about the IRS spying on Americans in the Democrats bill. Drew.
Drew Ferguson: (01:54)
Thank you, Elise. You get it, bro. Americans are fed up. They are fed up with the price of gas, they are fed up with the lack of supplies and food on the shelves. They look at Joe Biden as a modern-day Grinch that’s on the verge of canceling Christmas, and they are tired of being told what to do. And probably the most egregious provision in the Democrats tax and spend plan, the largest in American history, is a provision that would allow the IRS to spy on your bank accounts. To put that in perspective, if you spent $28 a day, you would get caught up in the IRS drag net. $28 a day, and this is wrong. Americans do not want the IRS looking in their bank account and the federal government has no business looking at your private bank accounts and your money.
Drew Ferguson: (02:44)
People are sick and tired of this. Since I have been in Congress, I have not had a single issue that has raised this much attention and awareness. It is the number one issue that has been coming with calls coming into my congressional office and I’ve got colleagues throughout the conference, both Republican and Democrats, that are saying the exact same thing. So we introduced a bill to prevent this treasury secretary from implementing rules that would allow the IRS to tap local banks, credit unions, and other entities to spy on your bank accounts. I can’t imagine a single American, Republican, Democrat, independent, rich, poor that wants the IRS looking into their bank account and for good reason. If you look at the recent history of the organization, they have failed to gain the trust of the American people. Look at what happened with Louis Lerner.
Drew Ferguson: (03:38)
Look at what happened with the leaking of information to ProPublica. Can you imagine what would happen if the IRS got their hands on every bit of information in your bank account? And don’t think for a minute that that’s not what’s coming. The Democrats want control. They want control of your life. They want control of your finances. They want control of everything. And we’re here to stand up against that, to push back, and we’re going to continue to raise awareness about this. It is wrong, we think it’s unconstitutional, and the federal government should not be allowed to look into your bank account without a reasonable search and seizure and a warrant. It is your private business. It is not the business of the IRS. So with that, we stand committed to blocking this horrible provision and to make sure that we maintain freedom in America’s lives. Thank you.
I’m now going to introduce my colleague Kelly Armstrong from North Dakota, who will be talking about the energy crisis.
Kelly Armstrong: (04:35)
Make no mistake. This started, is self-induced, this is created by the Biden administration and you can start from where we started. First day in office, they canceled the Keystone XL pipeline. With our closest trading partner, our neighbor to the north, Canada. Then we move across the Atlantic Ocean and help Vladimir Putin and green light Nord street. We passed regulations that make it absolutely hostile to develop minerals on federal lands. Then the Biden administration begs OPEC to open the pumps back up. It’s no secret why this is happening and this is before we passed one single thing in this 3.5 trillion reconciliation package. North Dakota’s an energy powerhouse. We’ve got notice from our two utilities that people are going to pay upwards of 150 to $200 more for their energy cost this winter. When you say you’re not taxing anybody who makes under $400,000, people are paying $200 more to heat their home in North Dakota in the winter will disagree with you.
Kelly Armstrong: (05:35)
You have to be uniquely incompetent. This is bad for consumers, it’s bad for domestic energy producers, and it’s bad for American workers. We are creating a policy that makes energy more expensive and puts us in a bad competition’s plate on the world stage. It’s that simple. And on top of that, we’re moving towards these unrealistic climate goals that simply cannot be attained in the time in which they say they do. My concern isn’t that they succeed, because they can succeed. My concern is that they fail. And when they fail, consumers are going to pay more for energy, American companies and American workers are going to suffer. That’s exactly what’s going to happen as this moves forward, and we need talk about it and we need to be honest with the American people about it because their costs are going up, whether it’s at the pump or it’s to heat their house or to feed their families. And we’re not spending enough time talking about why that is. And with that, I would turn it over to our whip.
Speaker 4: (06:31)
Thanks Kelly, hard working families are paying the price for all of these crises that have been created by President Biden and his big government socialist agenda that we’ve been seeing this whole year, whether it’s the inflation that people are paying for every good and supply that they buy when they go to the grocery store, when they try to renovate their houses, they’re waiting longer for things because it’s a supply chain crisis. They’re paying dramatically higher, over 40% more at the pump because of the energy crisis that President Biden created. The border crisis continues to bring thousands of people a day across illegally, including people on the terrorists watch list. They won’t even be transparent about the numbers, how many illegal crossings, how many people on the terrace watch list have come across our border because of the border crisis they created by all of their far-left items.
Speaker 4: (07:24)
And unfortunately, when you look just last week, President Biden did a town hall meeting and he was asked what his answer is on the energy crisis. How is he going to lower gas prices for families who were paying, in some cases, $100 to fill up their car and then their credit card maxes out at $100 at the pump and they can’t even fill up their car on $100. And when the president was asked what his answer is, he said that he doesn’t have a short term answer. I think that’s embarrassing that the President of the United States, when confronted with the biggest crisis that families are facing that he created, says that he doesn’t have an answer to that problem. Well the good news is house Republicans do. We have an answer to that crisis. As Kelly talked about, let’s just get back to the things that were working.
Speaker 4: (08:13)
We were an energy dominant nation when Joe Biden took the oath of office. Gas prices were less than $2 a gallon. People harken back to those days. It wasn’t that long ago that they were paying less than $2 a gallon for gasoline. Today in some states it’s over $5 a gallon because Joe Biden day one said he wants to cancel the Keystone pipeline, but he greenlighted a pipeline for Russia. He canceled production and leases on federal lands here in America, but then he went and begged OPEC in Russia to produce more oil. And by the way, if this was all about carbon emissions, because you’re going to see later this week, the president get on a plane and head off to Europe.
Speaker 4: (08:54)
And his biggest priority is to be able to go to Europe with a massive tax and spend agreement so that he can go to brag to his European allies about how much he’s wrecking America’s economy with higher taxes, higher spending, and green new deal type proposals that will make it more and more difficult for families to heat their home in the winter because of his natural gas tax, all in the name of saving the planet. The only problem is the things that he’s doing are increasing carbon emissions because when he’s shutting down American energy production and begging OPEC to produce more oil, OPEC actually has a higher carbon emission rate to produce the same oil that we produce here in America because we have higher standards. If you want to lower carbon emissions, America was doing that before Joe Biden took the oath of office.
Speaker 4: (09:41)
We’re actually lowering our emission standards. You look at China, they’re building 300 coal plants this year. We should be making more things in America. We should be producing more energy here in America. It lowers the cost of emissions, but it also lowers the cost for families who are paying too much and they’re fed up with all of the inflation that’s brought on by all of these socialist policies coming out of Washington. And their answer is to double down and do even more of it. This week with their proposals to spend trillions of dollars and raise trillions in new taxes and by the way, a lot of those taxes are going to be paid for by middle and lower income families. The natural gas tax in their bill, that will be a tax on every family who uses natural gas, probably 15% more in their electric bill every single month. The inflation tax, because inflation is a tax, that’s brought on by Joe Biden’s massive spending, that hits lower income families the hardest.
Speaker 4: (10:38)
And so what we are saying is stop this madness, work with Republicans to actually confront some of these crises because while President Biden doesn’t have an answer, we do. And just look at infrastructure. While they’re holding infrastructure hostage to this multi-trillion dollar bill that as Drew Ferguson said, among other things, creates an army of new IRS agents. We’re not saying they’re going to have over 80,000 IRS agents. In their bill, they’re adding over 80,000 more IRS agents to, among other things, try to snoop on people’s spending if you make over $10,000 a year. A senior on a fixed income would fall into that new trap. That is not what Washington should be doing.
Speaker 4: (11:24)
There was a bill that came out of the Senate unanimously last week, by the way, bill by Senator Cornyn passed unanimously that frees up over $120 billion that’s already sitting in state bank accounts frozen, would allow those states to use that more on infrastructure today. Not having to go through federal agencies here in Washington, but actually allowing those states to have over $120 billion freed up today to do real infrastructure. We’re asking speaker Pelosi to bring that bill to the floor. And again, that’s a bill that last week passed unanimously out of the Senate, every Republican and every Democrat. That’s bipartisan infrastructure. That’s not held hostage to more big government socialism. Those are the kind of things that we should be doing up here while President Biden goes off to Europe to talk about how he’s raising taxes and raising spending here in America. With that, we’d be happy to take some questions. Yes, ma’am.
Speaker 5: (12:21)
I know the house [inaudible 00:12:21], what is the level of confidence or optimism among Republican [inaudible 00:12:25]? And can you describe the general mood among-
Speaker 4: (12:29)
There’s a lot of energy, very positive energy about where we are in our path to take back the house in next year. And it’s because you see it all across the country. There’s an anger by families, Republican, Democrat, and independent, you see it in the polling. They’re angry about all of this big government socialism. They don’t like the spending they know that the spending that President Biden and speaker Pelosi have done are the biggest driver of inflation and inflation is the biggest that’s holding families back today, even if you’re getting a wage increase, it’s being undermined by a dramatic increase in inflation that ultimately takes that away.
Speaker 4: (13:04)
Elise talked about the projections that this will be the most expensive Thanksgiving ever. Turkeys might cost twice as much as they cost last year. Families are paying the cost of President Biden’s big government agenda and they don’t like is. And so you’re seeing that same kind of energy in Virginia and the big driver there is again, the big government socialists, the union bosses who don’t want your kids to go to school. Terry McCollough thinks that that parents shouldn’t be involved in their kids’ education. People are tired of Washington bureaucrats, unelected bureaucrats anywhere telling them what to do and making it harder for them to live their lives and in some cases make it harder for the kids to go back to school. So I think you’re seeing that all across this country.
Speaker 6: (13:47)
The helms amendment and hyde amendment taxpayer funded abortion still is not in the reconciliation bill. Is that still a priority? Is that a non-starter?
Speaker 4: (13:55)
It’s a top priority of ours that the hyde protections that go back to the 1970s stay in law for any spending. Taxpayer money should not be used to fund abortion. That had always been a bipartisan initiative. And in fact, Joe Biden, when he was in the Senate, used to be a champion of the hyde amendment. And today Joe Biden is trying to gut to hyde amendment. So I don’t know what changed with Joe Biden’s approach, but most families across America, whether you’re pro-life, pro-choice, most people agree that taxpayer funds shouldn’t be used for abortion. And it is a top priority of ours to defend the hyde amendment in any spending bill that moves through Congress.
Speaker 6: (14:34)
Going back to Virginia, the Republican nominee, Glen Young, has been in the news recently for saying that he does not personally support same sex marriage though he says it’s legally acceptable. I wanted to get the position of the house GOP conference on this. Do you see same sex marriage as a settled issue legally and do you support it?
Speaker 4: (14:54)
Well ultimately in the governor’s race in Virginia, I think you’re seeing probably education becoming the top issue because parents are wanting to get involved in their education. In the past, marriage was an issue that was handled at the state level where each state had their own laws. And ultimately the Supreme court, as in Roe V Wade, the Supreme court undermines state’s ability to ultimately make that decision. But states used to set their own laws, whether it be for marriage, for abortion. But in the end, in the Virginia governor’s race, I think you’re seeing inflation and education being the top issue. And frankly, Terry McCollough’s on the wrong side of all of those issues.
Speaker 7: (15:37)
How do you feel about the idea of a billionaire tax?
Speaker 4: (15:40)
Yeah, look at where they’ve done this. It seems like every bad idea that comes out of states like California and New York, they try to replicate for the whole nation. And so when you look at states like California and New York and New York is probably the best example of a billionaire tax, where they said they want as a state to go pick on a group of people if they have success. And in America, by the way, we used to encourage everyone to work hard, play hard. And if you play hard and work hard, you have a chance to be anything you want to be. Except now you’ve got these big government socialists that want to say they want to cap how successful you can be. And so in states like New York, where they put big taxes on billionaires, what you ended up having is a lot of billionaires left the state.
Speaker 4: (16:25)
California, a lot of billionaires left the state and states like Texas and Florida are growing and gaining seats in Congress this year and New York and California are losing seats in Congress because ultimately people aren’t going to have government slow down their success. Again, they love going to Europe, a whole bunch of Democrats are going to go to Europe in a few days. In France, they had a billionaires type tax and they got rid of it because it was destroying investment in their country. Why would we want to destroy investment in America and punish success in America? We want to encourage more and more people to work hard, to create more opportunities for everybody, and stop trying to find a way for government to go punish somebody if they meet some new definition of success, because President Biden…
Speaker 4: (17:12)
And go back to his campaign, he said, “If you make less than $400,000,” that was his threshold, “You won’t pay a dime in new taxes.” The only problem is he breaks that promise in his budget and in this massive multi-trillion dollar tax and spend bill, not the least of which is his natural gas tax. The natural gas tax, we tried to take that out in the energy and commerce committee pointing out that it broke President Biden’s pledge not to tax people making less than 100,000. If you’re making 50,000 a year and you heat your home with natural gas this winter, you’re going to be paying a lot more. That is a tax, inflation is a tax. And yet president Biden wants to raise taxes on those hard working families and break his promise. Yes ma’am.
Speaker 8: (17:52)
Related to that, you’ve mentioned that there are Democrats who are headed to Europe. There are also a number of Republicans who are also headed to the UN conference. I just wanted to see if you could comment, are you supportive of them going? And if so, what do you think their goal needs to be at that?
Speaker 4: (18:06)
Yeah, I think it’s important that we give a counter argument to this green new deal, Paris accord type socialist approach to the planet. Because ultimately if you say, “America’s not going to be able to produce things, to manufacture things, because they’re going to put unrealistic targets on our manufacturers and families here in America,” it’s going to absolutely raise costs on families here, but it does is sends those jobs, because things will still be made. Steel is still going to be produced, but if you can’t produce it in America because the unrealistic targets by a Paris accord or a green new deal, then China, Brazil, India will make that same steel. The problem is in those countries, they actually emit about five times more carbon to make the same steel. So if you want to save the planet and carbon emissions are your concern, you ought to want to make more things in America, not crush America’s economy and exempt China because ultimately China’s the country that is emitting the most carbon and they’re not slowing down.
Speaker 4: (19:04)
In all of these agreements, whether it’s green new deal or Paris accord, exempt the biggest polluter, China at the expense of hard working families here in America. So they crush jobs here. We ought be making more things here. We wouldn’t have a supply chain problem out at the port of Los Angeles if we were making more things here and in putting our products on ships and sending them to other countries of the world instead of the opposite and we’d actually reduce carbon emissions as we were doing before Joe Biden took office. Yeah, so final question.
Speaker 9: (19:34)
Thank you, related to the previous one, Democrats are also talking about a millionaire tax, either 5 million or 10 million. I’m just curious, is it your position that millionaires or billionaires should pay the same amount of taxes or more or less?
Speaker 4: (19:45)
What I’m saying is there should be fair taxes for everybody, but ultimately there ought to be limited government here in Washington. The reason that they’re trying to find ways to raise taxes on everybody, including future gains, which is not even constitutional based on what a lot of constitutionalists have said, but they’re going to try it anyway. The reason they’re doing this is not for good policy, it’s because they want to spend trillions more on social programs. And that’s where they’re losing the American people, because families who are paying more for everything, with inflation, with higher energy prices, they know it’s because of all of the spending here in Washington.
Speaker 4: (20:22)
And the only thing that would make inflation worse is spending trillions more in Washington. And so the tax policies they’re trying to pass have nothing to do with equity. It’s all about trying to generate trillions more dollars to hire 80 plus thousand IRS agents to ultimately go after people’s bank accounts so that they can spend more money in Washington. That’s what people are fed up with, frankly, that’s what’s hurting our economy today. We need to move away from that agenda. Thank you all. [Silence 00:21:02].