House Democrats have voted down a resolution demanding a Treasury Department assessment of whether President Biden’s biggest spending bills over the past two years are contributing to inflation.
The GOP resolution requires the Treasury to provide Congress with any analysis it has done on this topic, and it was brought up Thursday during House Oversight and Reform Committee tagging. The resolution takes aim at the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Biden signed in 2021 and the $750 billion Cut Inflation Act he signed this year – economists said that the two spending bills had boosted demand in the United States and contributed to levels of inflation not seen in decades.
But Democrats voted to report the resolution “unfavorably” to the House floor, effectively killing it. Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the top Republican on the committee, accused Democrats of willfully ignoring the inflationary effects of the trillions of dollars in spending approved by the Biden administration.
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“Even congressional Democrats knew their spending was hurting the economy,” Comer said. “Rep. Jim Clyburn recently admitted that they knew government spending on these so-called stimulus programs would drive prices up. What a staggering admission.”
While some Republicans supported the infrastructure bill, Comer said in retrospect that he ended up shelling out hundreds of billions of dollars at a time when “the American people are hurting under the weight of inflation.”
Democrats rejected that argument and quoted economists who said President Biden’s spending bills will help dampen rising prices for consumers. Committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., added that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a major cause of inflation and accused Republicans of turning inflation “into a political spectacle.” .
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But Republicans argued that many economists believe the flooding of billions of dollars in government spending has created excess demand that has driven prices higher, and that Democratic spending bills will only make the problem worse. Economists who agree say it is a basic economic principle that excess money in the system drives up prices which the Federal Reserve is now trying to combat by raising interest rates, which could cause a recession.
Several Republicans have accused Democrats of trying to shield the Treasury Department from a congressional investigation that could show officials knew spending more would drive up prices.
“Why would my fellow Democrats want to suppress documents that are part of their own executive leadership?” asked Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La. “Why would members of the Oversight Committee want to remove the availability of documents to be made available to…members of this committee of the Secretary of the Treasury?”
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Inflation has increased costs for millions of American families over the past two years and began to rise as soon as Biden took office. According to the latest October data, consumer prices rose 7.7% from a year ago and were above 8% in the year ending September.
Republicans have proposed dozens of similar “inquiry resolutions” seeking information from the Biden administration on a range of topics. These resolutions are privileged, which means they must either be considered at the committee level or be allowed to come to a vote in the House.
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Democrats defeated each of those GOP resolutions, which serve as a roadmap for the kinds of oversight issues Republicans should pursue next year when they hold a majority in the House.
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