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Rep. Griffith's Report

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Winston Churchill famously said, “There is nothing government can give you that it hasn’t taken from you in the first place.” This accurately depicts how the Democrats’ impending tax-and-spending spree will affect the American people.

Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats attached an increase in the U.S. debt ceiling to a government funding resolution, hoping to use the increased authority to pay for a massive reconciliation spending bill that would move America toward Western European-style socialism.

Reconciliation is an insider tool that can be used only once each year to resolve issues with the congressional budget. It simplifies passing legislation in the Senate; instead of 60 votes, a reconciliation bill requires only a simple majority.

Still, Democratic leadership is scrambling because they have yet to secure the votes in the House or Senate. Reasons for hesitancy within their party are wide-ranging.

Because some have concerns with the exorbitant cost, it is rumored the Democrats may use a legislative sleight of hand to bring down the estimate to $1.5 trillion. But beware! This is likely a trojan horse. Underneath that $1.5 trillion shell, there may be additional quirks, triggers, bells, and whistles hiding future additional spending.

Four Democrats in the House are on record as opposed to current text of the legislation. Three of them voted against certain policies during a markup of the committee I serve on, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Three Democrat votes in my committee were lost because of language in Pelosi’s $3.5 trillion spending plan mirroring H.R. 3. That is the Democrats’ unconstitutional drug pricing bill. If passed, it would require a 95 percent tax of gross revenue on manufacturers that do not accept drug prices dictated by the Federal Government.

I am proud that I was first to speak on the unconstitutionality of this bill. After raising the issue when the concept was presented in subcommittee, the Congressional Research Service, an independent congressional agency, expressed similar concerns.

Further, a 95 percent tax on the gross revenue of a company that has expended considerable amounts on development and research would jeopardize new drug production and discourage innovation. Some experts have suggested this drug pricing concept could keep as many as 100 new cures for diseases from being developed in the next ten years.

I have cosponsored H.R. 19, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act, which would address many of these issues while still bringing much-needed transparency to drug pricing. Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA) was one of the three Democrats who voted against the drug pricing language that mirrored H.R. 3. Congressman Peters also has a plan for addressing drug pricing that is similar to H.R. 19. I am hopeful that once this ill-advised drug pricing language of Nancy Pelosi is defeated, we will be able to work with Congressman Peters, Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR), and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY) to implement a strong constitutional response on drug pricing.

This is important because lowering drug prices is a priority that requires bipartisan cooperation. But Democratic House leadership continues to try to force their radical drug pricing plan even if it is at the American people’s expense.

This is just one of the many counter-productive measures included in the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion plan. We simply cannot afford to pass legislation like this. Already our nation is $28 trillion in debt and is currently limited by statute from borrowing more than $28.5 trillion. This is why the Democrats seek to raise the debt ceiling.

While I recognize the debt ceiling may need to be raised to avoid defaulting on financial obligations, I refuse to support a substantial increase that enables this or any other ill-advised and wasteful spending spree. So, I voted against the House version of suspending the debt ceiling until December 2022 as part of a short-term continuing spending resolution.

I find it ironic that Republicans were blamed for a government shutdown that occurred when we controlled the House, Senate, and Presidency. And now that Democrats hold the House, Senate, and Presidency, they are trying to blame Republicans for the possibility of their own inability to fund the government. But this potential shutdown would result from their decision to attach a significant increase in spending to the debt ceiling of the United States.

Raising the debt ceiling to implement this $3.5 trillion spending spree is utterly irresponsible and jeopardizes the future of America.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.

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