Senator Lee continues to fight inflation with the PRICE Act

Mrs. President,

We broke another record. Unfortunately, not one to brag. Last week, the latest consumer price index beat inflation expectations at a staggering 9.1%. In Utah, this rate is much higher.

The evolution of the Biden administration’s blame game has shifted its focus from the pandemic to the supply chain, from the supply chain to Putin. But there is a more consistent answer: the government continues to spend more than it has. Last year, Congress spent $6.8 trillion, while collecting just over $4 trillion in revenue. With the return of legislative earmarks, spending per barrel of pork has increased by more than 1700%.

Rather than recognizing the problems associated with spending more than it brings in, the government is simply printing more money for itself. Like a child with affluenza, rather than being cut off, the government is simply helping itself to more money. It doesn’t take long to lose the value of a dollar when you’re not spending your own money. Government is no different. While hardworking Americans are pinching pennies, lawmakers are spending recklessly. To pay for their next project, they threaten to raise taxes. When they don’t have the support to raise taxes, they still continue to spend and drive up inflation. Inflation is nothing but an invisible tax on the people.

Without action, reckless spending will knock us off a financial cliff. I have always called for a balanced budget amendment. But our spending trajectory is such that we cannot afford to wait for the consensus needed to pass a constitutional amendment. While hard-working Americans wait, I introduced the Prevention of Rampant Inflation in Consumer Spending (PRICE) Act to stop the bleeding. The PRICE Act requires a three-fifths majority of senators to approve new spending measures when the country’s inflation rate is at or above 3%.

The PRICE Act is desperately needed. This insatiable spending machine is now costing Utahns $881 more per month than they paid last year, and that’s on top of what they already pay in taxes. That’s $881 that the Utahns get nothing in return for. This represents money that could be spent on their mortgage, on their child’s college education, to fill up their empty gas tank. Instead, millions of Americans will watch the cost of living skyrocket and determine that they must sacrifice their wants just to meet their needs.

My PRICE Act flips the script. This doesn’t completely prevent legislators from spending when inflation is above 3%, but it does require legislators to offset that spending with cuts elsewhere. Essentially, it pushes Congress to weigh its legislative desires against the legislative needs of the American people.

It’s because to anyone living in reality, a budget means something. Failure to meet this budget has profound consequences. When Jack has to pay an extra $93 a month for food, he begins to doubt his ability to feed his family. When Jill has to pay an extra $145 a month for housing, she doubts her ability to keep a roof over her child’s head. When Joe has to pay an extra $404 for transportation, he doubts his ability to get his kid to practice and back. So why is it that when inflation is at 9.1%, lawmakers keep spending? When Americans are filled with financial fear and doubt, why do the Democrats want to spend an extra trillion dollars on their plan to build back better?

Congress fails to show restraint during unprecedented inflation. As Americans tighten their belts, Congress has turned on the tap. If a household ran into this disaster of a budget, the family would quickly face foreclosures, foreclosures and bankruptcy. Ronald Reagan couldn’t have been more prescient when he described inflation as “the price we pay for those government benefits that everyone thought were free.” While the members are touting their shiny new pet projects, Americans are footing the bill.

It is unconscionable that Congress continues to congratulate itself on passing massive spending bills when the country has a financial millstone around its neck. It is high time that Congress submit to the same budget cuts that working class families are currently facing. While I wish members of Congress would impose these restrictions on themselves, Democrats are pushing for a new trillion-dollar spending plan, which is unlikely. Given our apparent lack of restraint, it is time to pass the PRICE Act.

Congress has become the baby of the trust fund that does not understand the value of a dollar. The PRICE law is the recognition that sometimes you have to take out the family credit card.

Richard L. Militello