|VIDEO: Blunt Slams Biden Admin Blunders: Crisis at the Border, Skyrocketing Inflation & Gas Prices, & COVID Confusion|
|WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) took the Biden administration to task for enacting policies that have fueled the crisis at the border, driven inflation to a 40-year high of 8.5%, and created confusion on where the nation stands with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.|
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| Following Are Blunt’s Remarks:
“Madam President, I want to continue to talk about some of the challenges the administration is facing and the country is facing. Let me talk for just a little bit about the border, about the economy, and about our ongoing concerns on COVID.
“First of all, the border. We’ve had a number of people come to the floor and talk about the border, the problems at the border. Many of these problems are really self-inflicted on day one. You know, the president on the first day of his presidency—and I chaired the inauguration on January the 20th—and hours after that, the president decided to stop building the wall.
“I was never an advocate of needing a wall everywhere along the southern border. But we had a wall in lots of places already. It was doing some good, but it wasn’t doing as much good as it needed to do. Just the idea that we would, with the material on the ground and the old wall torn down, would decide to stop building the wall, I think, started these problems.
“And if that wasn’t enough, then-President Trump had made arrangements, the State Department had made arrangements, everybody involved with it, with Mexico, to have people who were applying for asylum wait for their court date in Mexico.
“It was my view at the time that we should do anything we could to help the Mexican government make that work because the alternative was people would come into the United States and not show up for an asylum date later.
“In Mexico, they’d learned that they weren’t going to qualify for asylum because fewer than nine out of 10 people, roughly, will not qualify. You found that out before you got into the United States and successfully had entered our country even though you weren’t eligible to.
“If you were waiting in Mexico and you’d found a lawyer to talk to and maybe even a way to hear your case in some way there, you would find out that you weren’t going to qualify for asylum, eight and a half times or nine times out of 10. And that’s where you should have found that out.
“To come in the country and wait for months to have a court date that you may or may not show up for just simply has not worked. And everybody that understands this system understands it doesn’t work. And everybody that understands the obligation of a government understands that a government has some obligation to control its own borders. And you don’t control your own borders by having people come into the country that aren’t legally eligible to come to the country and then just stay here.
“And so that policy produced real chaos. And then Title 42 under the public health law was another thing that we put in place, as we put all kinds of other COVID-related protections in place. And now, [the Biden administration] wants to eliminate Title 42. The only place, apparently, if you follow the CDC closely right now, that we don’t need to up our game on COVID protection is the border of the United States.
“None of these things make sense. We have too many people that have been encouraged wrongly to be told, ‘you come to the United States. You ask for asylum. They let you into the United States, and then you don’t show up for your asylum hearing.’
“I’m for legal immigration. I’m for solving the DREAMer problem. I’m for doing a lot of things that we need to do to make our immigration laws work properly. You know, we need to understand the workforce needs of the country. We need to understand what to do about people who came or stayed illegally. But we also need to understand how to secure the border. And that’s where—for any of these other things to work, you have to do that.
“The COVID problem, as I said, appears to only be a problem at the CDC. Well, actually it appears to be a problem everywhere but the border. The CDC just yesterday had a new rule that even for domestic travel, people should now—their advice is have a test for domestic travel, before you get on an airplane to go domestically to have that test.
“We were working on a $10 billion bill, and even this morning, again, the [Secretary of Health and Human Services] at our appropriations hearing said, ‘Well, that would just be a start. We need $10 or $20 or $30 billion before the end of this fiscal year more than we currently have, and it’s an emergency.’
“$10, $20, $30 billion more than we have now, but at the border, no problem at all. At the border, this is no problem. We need billions of dollars to deal with it internally. We need to not only have fewer tests, which everybody agrees—fewer standards for domestic travel. We now need a new standard, they say, for domestic travel. Surely they will think about that.
“And while we’re negotiating, again, spending, this issue comes out simultaneously that the border is a problem. And then, of course, everybody knows the economy is a problem. All you’ve got to do to find out the economy is a problem is go to the gas station or go to the grocery store. And most Americans do that and do it a lot.
“And when gas prices go up, when food prices go up, every family knows it. And what we’re seeing now is inflation that, I think, it’s 8.5%. It may be settling in at 8.5%. But wherever it settles in, it’s a whole lot higher than it was at any time during the Obama administration when the highest month in the entire Obama administration, of inflation—that’s not a year average. It’s the highest single month—was 3.4%. Under President Trump, the highest single month was 2.9%.
“We’re now at 8.5%, and the Producer Price Index has been in double digits since December. That’s usually a sign that the other index is going to follow that double digit scary number that’s out there. So energy policies that produced exactly the result you would think they would, higher energy prices.
“Spending policies, the American Rescue Plan, I thought at the time it was a final COVID bill, but when you look at the bill before we had a chance to vote on it and saw it, it really didn’t have very much to do with COVID. Maybe 6% of the $1.9 trillion went to COVID. The rest of it went to things that put money in people’s pockets to help them recover in an economy that was already recovering. You can’t spend $1.9 trillion in a short period of time, even in the biggest and most vibrant economy in the world, and not drive up prices.
“So whether it’s inflation, whether it’s the economic stress, I talked to a group of Missouri Realtors today, and of course, they are beginning to see people wonder if they can afford a house at the interest rates that are out in front of us. It makes a big difference if the interest payment is based on 3.5% interest or 5.5% or 6.5% or 7.5% or, as it was in the mid 1980s, 11% to 15% interest.
“These are issues we need to get under control. Most of these issues have an explanation that is rooted in confused policy decisions in the administration. I look forward to those confused policy decisions headed in a different direction.
“Let’s look at the information. Let’s be realistic. Let’s not continue to see all of these things headed in a direction that makes no common sense in America today.”
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