Mar 31, 2022

Senate Republican Press Conference on Inflation, Russia and Biden Agenda 3/29/22

Senate Republican Press Conference on Inflation, Russia and Biden Agenda 3/29/22
RevBlogTranscriptsInflationSenate Republican Press Conference on Inflation, Russia and Biden Agenda 3/29/22

Senate Republican Press Conference on Inflation, Russia and Biden Agenda 3/29/22. Read the transcript here.

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.

Mitch McConnell: (00:14)
Hello, everyone. Nothing sums up your priorities like laying out a budget, which indicates what you would do if you could. And the President’s budget has a 14% increase on the domestic side, it unrealistically assumes inflation at 2.8% this week, and basically would fund Defense at less than inflation. Completely and totally unrealistic at a time of big power competition with Russia and China, and in the middle of the Ukraine war. Hopefully, on a bipartisan basis, the Congress will have an entirely different set of priorities.

Mitch McConnell: (01:06)
With regard to Ukraine, I want to repeat, I think our goal here needs to be victory. The President continues to kind of pull his punches. He talks a good game, but at key moments has been either too late or advocating things that could not be possibly provocative, like Polish MiGs going to Ukraine. So, I think we need to be all in to win. By winning, I mean, helping the Ukraine people who are putting up an incredible fight and have a real chance at victory. And we need to help them every step of the way.

John Thune: (01:56)
Well, as the leader pointed out, we have now seen President Biden’s budget, which, as he indicated, is a statement of his priorities, which should be concerning to every American because while Americans across this country are very concerned about rising prices, about inflation, the President’s main priority seems to be historic tax increases.

John Thune: (02:20)
And, in fact, as the leader pointed out, they’re proposing a 4% increase in national security at a time when we’re facing threats all around the globe. And yet, they are increasing domestic spending 14% overall, but 18%, 18% for the Internal Revenue Service. They get an 18% increase. And maybe it’s because they’re going to need all the extra personnel to collect all the new taxes this administration is proposing, but is completely out of step with what matters to the American people right now.

John Thune: (02:54)
And another area that doesn’t receive any support within this budget is the crisis, the ongoing crisis, at the border, either on the humanitarian side or the national security side. In fact, not only does the Biden administration not address those issues and support the Department of Homeland Security, but it goes so far as suggesting in their reporting on this in the last few weeks that they’re going to end Title 42, which is a provision in the law that at least allows our border officials to somewhat control the flow across the border, particularly as it pertains to the pandemic. And the administration is completely at a loss when it comes to doing anything about the border. And even their own Democrats here in the Senate, the two Democrat senators from Arizona said, “Please, please don’t repeal Title 42.” They have no plan in place to deal with what is already a disaster, but, if the expectations come to fruition when they repeal Title 42, would be a catastrophe in terms of the humanitarian crisis that it would create at our Southern border.

John Thune: (04:06)
The President’s budget doesn’t address the issues that are most important to the American people. And I hope, I sincerely hope, that as the American people listen to the discussion about the President’s budget and the issues that are important to them, that they will weigh in and that this administration will get the message loudly and clearly that on an economic level, on the border, on what’s happening in our cities with respect to crime, they are completely out of touch, not only with the American people, but with reality.

John A. Barrasso: (04:40)
With regard to energy, people in Europe are wide awake and Joe Biden is still sleepwalking. People in Europe clearly understand what a monumental mistake it was to be dependent for their energy from their enemies. Joe Biden continues to march to the tune of the climate elitists and extremists. You take a look at the budget that came out yesterday: 36 new taxes. 11 of them are on American oil, gas, energy, things that are going to increase the cost of energy for American families.

John A. Barrasso: (05:17)
So, the president gave a speech last week talking about trying to help Europe, more LNG going to send over to them. The administration was asked, “Where’s it coming from?” They said, “We’ll have to get back to you. We don’t know.” In the West, people call that all hat, no cattle.

John A. Barrasso: (05:40)
If the President is serious about helping the Europeans escape the problem they’re having with energy, he needs to do three things. One is he needs to actually announce that we are going to produce more oil and gas here in America. That includes calling off his attack dogs and his regulators, and actually helping us in America, the people that know how to do it, get the energy out of the ground.

John A. Barrasso: (06:07)
Number two is he’s going to have to announce that he is for the permitting to allow the construction of the terminals to export liquified natural gas as well as the pipelines to move that. One way to start is with a bill I’ve introduced called the ESCAPE Act. He has to cut through the red tape that’s stopping those things from happening right now.

John A. Barrasso: (06:27)
And the third thing he has to do is stop vilifying the hardworking men and women in this country who produce energy every day to keep the lights on and keep the vehicles moving across the country. They do a great job supplying energy for all America.

John A. Barrasso: (06:43)
If the President does those three things, that message alone sending to the markets will lower the cost of energy for American families. It’s not going to get the energy out of the ground overnight, but the people of Wyoming, the Rocky Mountain West are ready to answer the call.

Roy Blunt: (07:00)
Well, more than one month after his assault on Ukraine, you have to wonder if Putin is more surprised by the incredible resistance of the Ukrainian people, the unity of NATO and the changing position in a positive way of NATO to defend freedom where they can and where they’re obligated to and in the neighborhood where they’re obligated to, or the lack of performance by his own military. The report last week was seven generals, including two lieutenant generals, have been killed. It’s been reported that at least 10,000 Russian troops have been killed, tens of thousands of other Russian troops wounded and sent home that way. I think they lost 13,500 or so troops in Afghanistan in 10 years. They’re in line to lose that in 10 weeks in Ukraine.

Roy Blunt: (07:56)
And no matter how much you manage the media, the mothers know. The mothers know. And people know. And frankly, it appears that almost every Russian soldier has a cell phone with them and they use it all the time and they’re reporting back their shock at what they’re asked to do and what they’re seeing done and the resistance of people who look just like them and can generally speak Russian and hate the fact that they’re there, as we hate the fact that the Russians are in Ukraine right now. We need to give them what they need when they need it, not what they need when it’s convenient for us to manage to get it to them, but when they need it.

Roy Blunt: (08:38)
The resistance of the Ukrainians has been incredible. It sends a message to the world that freedom still matters, and you don’t want to live under repression. We have a chance to have a very different discussion about freedom in the world today than I think we had two months ago. And we should make the most of it. And we should do everything we can to help Ukraine defend itself.

Joni Ernst: (09:02)
Folks, Ukraine can win this war. I’m very optimistic about that. I believe it. But as I have been saying, they do need the right weapons. And they need those weapons, they need that lethal aid right now. Not tomorrow. Not in two weeks. They need it right now.

Joni Ernst: (09:21)
So, the administration has been touting the billions of dollars in lethal aid, humanitarian assistance that they have been sending to Ukraine, but we really need clarity on this. And I’m thankful we have been able to provide those dollars for the lethal aid, but we need it clearly outlined what those dollars are going for and how are we achieving our goals in Ukraine? The administration has yet to do that.

Joni Ernst: (09:54)
So, after the codel last week, we had 10 bipartisan senators that attended this trip to Germany and Poland. We spoke with the Ukrainian civil society members. After that codel, all 10 of us, Republicans, Democrats, and Independent, agreed that we all have to understand what our strategy is in assisting Ukraine.

Joni Ernst: (10:20)
So, today, I have penned yet another letter to the administration. This one is a bipartisan letter, Democrats and Republicans. There’s over 20 of us so far that have joined on to the letter. And we are sending this to the President’s national security advisor, asking the Biden administration to provide a clear strategy on how the United States can help Ukraine win this war.

Joni Ernst: (10:48)
And again, I believe they can win this war. We just have to know and understand what weapons are going in, how we’re assisting humanitarian-wise. And it’s important that the national security advisor narrow down his window of opportunity and speak with us here in the United States Senate and let us know what the strategy is and then how we can be helpful. But, again, Ukraine can win this war.

Rick Scott: (11:18)
Biden’s budget’s bad for American families. We already know we have 30 trillion worth of debt. Under his budget, the debt will increase, over the next 10 years, $14.4 trillion, which is over $100,000 per family.

Rick Scott: (11:32)
He says, we’re going to have inflation of 2.9%. If you look at the numbers, we’re it’s 7.9% now. And it sure appears it’s going to continue to go up.

Rick Scott: (11:41)
$2.5 trillion worth of tax increases. It’s going to have a lot of tax increases on our small businesses, which is going to hurt them.

Rick Scott: (11:49)
Next, let’s look at what we’ve been doing up here. 16% increase in population over the last 20 years. A 310% increase in our budget. We’ve got to get this budget under control. And what Biden’s doing is not going to help us.

Journalist 1: (12:04)
[inaudible 00:12:04].

Mitch McConnell: (12:06)

Journalist 1: (12:07)
How concerned are you at this stage, if the fourth vaccine is coming, that this money is not going to be available? And also, will there be any red lines in this bill, in this money, if it’s approved, to prevent undocumented persons from being eligible for vaccines?

Mitch McConnell: (12:24)
Which money are you talking about?

Journalist 1: (12:25)
The COVID money. Additional COVID money.

Mitch McConnell: (12:26)
Yeah. Well, look. Senator Romney’s been talking to Senator Schumer and to others on two points: one, to justify additional COVID spending, and number two, how to pay for it. I mean, there’s an enormous amount of money out of the $2 trillion bill passed last year that hadn’t gone out yet. And I think Senator Romney can speak for himself, but he’s been in the lead on this. It’s my view that it ought to be entirely paid for out of money that’s already in the pipeline by reprogramming it for whatever amount they can justify to get the job done.

Journalist 1: (13:11)
And any red lines?

Mitch McConnell: (13:11)
I think it ought to be paid. I think it ought to be paid for.

Journalist 2: (13:14)
It was reported today that you declined two phone calls from President Trump on January 6th, 2021. Why did you not take his phone calls? And in retrospect, would it have been better if you had spoken with him to try to calm tensions down before he spoke at that rally?

Mitch McConnell: (13:29)
Yeah. I’ve said repeatedly that the last time I spoke to the president was the day after the Electoral College declared President Biden the winner. I publicly congratulated President Biden on his victory and received a phone call after that from President Trump. And that’s the last time we spoke.

Journalist 2: (13:52)
Why didn’t you take the call?

Journalist 3: (13:52)
Did you try to call him back that day? Did you try to call former President Trump back that day?

Mitch McConnell: (13:59)
I just answered your question.

Journalist 4: (14:01)
Senator Paul has held up the Russia trade relations bill. Have you spoken to Senator Paul about this? How important [crosstalk 00:14:08]?

Mitch McConnell: (14:08)
Well, we’re hoping to move forward with a negotiated Mike Crapo/Ron Wyden proposal to withdraw the favored nation status from the Russians. We’re not there yet, but I think there’s a widespread feeling we ought to do that. And hopefully, we’ll figure out a way forward.

Journalist 4: (14:29)
Should Clarence Thomas [crosstalk 00:14:30]?

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.