Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Republicans, warned during an interview on Sunday that President Joe Biden’s massive social spending agenda, known as the Build Back Better Act, would cause Americans to pay more for many things as inflation and taxes go up.
“I look at this, this will break the back of the American people with taxes, with spending, with all of the mandates,” Barrasso told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. “People will end up paying more for just about everything, it will make inflation worse, taxes will go up. All the tax experts will tell us that at least a third of middle America will pay a lot more in taxes, and the impact of inflation on people’s lives now, whether you want to call it a hidden tax or not, people’s paychecks are not keeping up. People are hurting, and it’s the Biden policies that have made it worse.”
“We’re now at a 40-year high on inflation,” Barrasso later said, adding that the “true cost” of the Build Back Better Act, “when you get rid of the accounting gimmicks, we’re talking close to $5 trillion, $3 trillion added to the debt. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are going to have a lot to say with this, about this. But you talked about these temporary programs, you remember Milton Friedman said there is ‘nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.’ Once they get in there, they stay forever.”
MARIA BARTIROMO: Joining me right now with more on what to expect this week and by year end is Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, a member of GOP Senate leadership. Senator, it’s great to see you this morning; thanks so much for being here.
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO: Thank you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: Your reaction to what you just heard from the president: “It doesn’t cost anything, it’s already paid for, and it will actually lower inflation,” this massive spending plan.
SEN. BARRASSO: The president is wrong on all of these things. Remember, he started the year by saying, “America is back,” and he’s been back pedaling ever since. You know, you look at these new inflation numbers, and our economy is on its back. You look at what’s happened after the disaster of Afghanistan, and our back is against the wall in international areas. And now he is pushing this so-called Build Back Better bill, I mean, to me, I look at this, this will break the back of the American people with taxes, with spending, with all of the mandates. People will end up paying more for just about everything, it will make inflation worse, taxes will go up. All the tax experts will tell us that at least a third of middle America will pay a lot more in taxes, and the impact of inflation on people’s lives now, whether you want to call it a hidden tax or not, people’s paychecks are not keeping up. People are hurting, and it’s the Biden policies that have made it worse.
BARTIROMO: Well, that’s right. I almost feel like you’re colleagues on the Left are living in another, alternative universe because we see these numbers every day, senator. I agree. We saw the CPI out, the Consumer Price Index, on Friday which showed us that everything is up in price from gasoline to food and furniture, etc., and yet Chuck Schumer said he wants to get a vote on this spending package perhaps this week. What can [inaudible] get done in the Senate, legislatively, before year end?
SEN. BARRASSO: There are a number of things we need to do. One is the National Defense Authorization Act, which should have been done months ago, but that’s a very low priority for President Biden. We’ve seen that in the past. Exhibit A is when he came out with his own budget; it had limited dollars, it didn’t even keep up with inflation for defense and for homeland security. So we need to do that this week. The Democrats are going to, all on their own, raise the debt ceiling in the United States. We don’t default on the debt, what is happening is, they don’t want to have a discussion about the importance of getting spending under control. They want to do massive spending. And you’re right, Chuck Schumer is still saying he wants to bring to the floor of the Senate this massive tax and spending bill which is, I believe, going to make inflation worse, increase taxes on all Americans, and hurt our economy even further.
BARTIROMO: Well, you’ve said a lot of things there, and I want to go back to a few of them. On the debt ceiling vote, you voted to raise the debt ceiling. You know, I was surprised because there was so much conversation about the debt ceiling in the weeks prior with, you know, Mitch McConnell saying, “We’re not going to help the Democrats spend more money; we’re not going to be there to participate in raising the debt ceiling,” but you did, and my question to you is, was there a discussion at all with your colleagues on the Left to say, okay, we will be there and we will vote for raising the debt ceiling if you put a cap on spending in 2022? Was that even discussed, a cap on spending?
SEN. BARRASSO: Every time the debt ceiling debate comes up, the goal is to get spending under control. Democrats don’t want to do that; they just want to raise spending. The debt ceiling hasn’t been raised yet. That vote is going to be next week; no Republican is going to vote for that; every Democrat is going to vote for that; the vice president is going to have to break the tie. They wanted a blank check; they’re not getting it; they’re going to have to come up with a number. I hear the treasury department is saying the number is $2 trillion, and the Democrats are going to be held accountable for all of this spending come next year’s election.
BARTIROMO: Well, you know, you also look at the money allocated for defense, senator, and it’s really, it’s laughable to see our adversaries like China and Russia getting more aggressive, and yet we are actually looking at a decline in defense spending in Bernie Sanders’ budget, Joe Biden’s budget. Look, you just came back from the Middle East. You were great to go to visit our troops over Thanksgiving, we have pictures here to show you with the troops. You were in Bahrain; you know what they’re up against, and yet this defense budget is actually a decline in defense spending? How can he justify that?
SEN. BARRASSO: Well, you’re right, I go every year for Thanksgiving to be with the Wyoming soldiers. This time, I was in the Persian Gulf, right across, they are eyeball to eyeball with Iran, and what we’re seeing is after Afghanistan and the disastrous Biden response there, that our enemies are emboldened and are being more aggressive. Iran is, Russia is, China is, you’re seeing it also in North Korea. This should have been passed months ago because it also includes the raise for our troops. You want to make sure they have the equipment they need, the firepower. We never want to send American troops into a fair fight, we want them to be strong and be able to project strength, but when the president puts his massive budget forward as he did, supersizing all parts of government and the only parts that don’t keep up with even inflation were defense and homeland security, you realize this president does not have those as priorities. So we now have — we’ll go to him, will be a new National Defense Authorization Act where we plussed it up in terms of deterrence against China, which is our long-term adversary, the biggest threat long term. Also plussing up against Russia, which is, Vladimir Putin is today’s clear and present danger. And a lot more effort in our defense in terms of cyber.
BARTIROMO: Yeah. I wish — I think our viewers would like to see some honesty. I mean, we heard from the CBO this week that this spending and tax plan will cost $4.7 trillion. They continue to have these gimmicks that say the child tax credit goes away after one year, the parental credit goes away after one year, but the CBO and the Committee for Responsible Budget has told us the cost of this, and yet they’re not admitting it. Do you think we will get a vote on this bill by year end?
SEN. BARRASSO: Schumer has said on Thursday he plans to bring it to the Senate this year. You would think the two things that came out on Friday would have been the one-two punch, each of which could have been a knockout for this. One, the inflation numbers. We’re now at a 40-year high on inflation. And the other is the true cost, when you get rid of the accounting gimmicks, we’re talking close to $5 trillion, $3 trillion added to the debt. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are going to have a lot to say with this, about this. But you talked about these temporary programs, you remember Milton Friedman said there is “nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.” Once they get in there, they stay forever. Plus, Maria, what I hear about are just the terrible things in this bill, that’s what I hear about in Wyoming, and the things that are in this bill are not on anybody in Wyoming’s shopping list for Christmas.
BARTIROMO: Well, and then, senator, there’s this vaccine mandate. Are we going backwards here as well? The Senate just voted to repeal Biden’s federal vax mandate for businesses with the help of two Democrats. You’ve got more Democrats increasingly seeing that what is coming out of this White House is not in step with what the American people want. Your reaction to what Kathy Hochul in New York has done now. She has a statewide mandate requiring masks indoors unless businesses or vendors implemented a vax requirement.
SEN. BARRASSO: You know, I’m a doctor. I am pro-vaccine and anti-mandate. I’m vaccinated, all my family is vaccinated, but this mandate is a massive government mistake and a government overreach. And the courts are agreeing with us. We had this vote, you’re right, every Republican voted against the mandate to repeal what the president has done. We’ve had a couple of Democrats, as well, join us. But, and I think when they put the mandate in, certainly here in Wyoming, it actually hardened people against it. But the president’s position seems to be, you know, to bosses, is vaccinate or terminate. Maria, there are help wanted signs everywhere. There are 11 million job openings in the United States. Our interstates in Wyoming are closed right now due to snow, we can’t find people to hire to drive the snowplows. And yet you have people that have been working full time through the entire pandemic who don’t want to get vaccinated, but they’ve been there on the front lines. And the irony of all of this is under Joe Biden’s economy, if you don’t want to get vaccinated, you can still collect a welfare check, but you’re not allowed to earn a paycheck.
BARTIROMO: Unbelievable. You know, senator, real quick before you go, I find it really odd that this vaccine mandate — which we knew was unconstitutional from day one — came out right in the middle of Joe Biden’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal. Was this a “look over here, not over here situation”?
SEN. BARRASSO: Well, I have great concerns. I agree with you, Maria, it came out September 9th, at a time that our nation was reeling over the collapse in Afghanistan, the loss of 13 of our soldiers at the airport. One, Riley McCollum, a young man, a Marine from Wyoming, who was a high school wrestling champion. The people of our country absolutely in despair over what happened under President Biden’s leadership — lack of leadership in Afghanistan. And for them to come up with this mandate after Joe Biden said we’re not going to do it, the White House spokesman this summer said, “Oh, we don’t have the legal authority to do it.” I’ll tell you, you look at the timing on this, it’s very, very questionable.
BARTIROMO: Well, the truth is, is the American people are seeing through all of this, senator. We appreciate your leadership. Thanks very much for being here this morning.
SEN. BARRASSO: Well, and, you know, Maria, after this Christmas and the high inflation, Joe Biden is going to go into his second year with record high inflation numbers and record low approval numbers, and he has earned them.