The House Republicans are off to a good start, passing two energy bills that make a lot of sense.
Two weeks ago, they passed the Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act, whose content is self-evident. It was a lopsided, bipartisan vote of 331 to 97. Today, they passed the Strategic Production Response Act, which would tie any SPR sales to additional oil and gas leasing on federal lands. The vote was 221 to 205.
Hopefully, the next step will be a broad-based H.R. 1 permitting bill that will reopen fracking, pipelining, refining, LNG terminals, and so forth. This is all so important, because refined petroleum products permeate virtually every nook and cranny of the American economy.
Larger supplies will bring down prices and make it affordable for middle-class working people. Of course, President Biden opposes all this.
He’s happy to sell SPR reserves to China; he wants to use this national security tool for short-term, political gasoline price manipulation; and he cares not one whit that we’re still a million barrels a day short from where we were back in 2019 during the Trump energy independence era.
Speaking of Mr. Biden’s opposition to common-sense Republican legislation, the president and his allies continue to fear-monger and oppose any spending reduction that might come out of the debt ceiling discussion this summer. He has said he’d meet with Speaker McCarthy, but they haven’t set a date.
He also said that in that meeting he will not discuss any budget negotiations. In other words, he’s stone-walling.
The worst part of this story is Mr. Biden’s use of the “big lie.” I’ve said time and again that he is incapable of truth-telling — on the economy particularly, but on many other issues as well. Everything he says is remarkably left-wing partisan. He is the non-unifier.
The president barely even acknowledges that the Republicans won the House in the last election, but his worst sin of all is his constant harping that the Republicans want to slash Social Security, want to slash Medicare, and want to default on our government debt.
This is simply not true.
I have interviewed Mr. McCarthy and the House GOP whip, Stephen Scalise, and asked them about this directly. “There he goes again,” I said. The president “is saying the House Republicans want to crash Social Security and Medicare and you’re going to default on the debt. So I’m just going to ask you, is that true?”
Mr. Scalise replied: “No, it’s not, Larry. And most importantly Joe Biden knows it’s not true and he keeps saying it because he wants to scare the American people.”
“They’re saying you’re going to cut Social Security, you’re going to cut Medicare, and you're going to default on the interest payments on the bonds,” I repeated.
“None of that is true,” Mr. McCarthy asserted.
So, the Republican House leaders couldn’t be clearer, and yet the president keeps saying it. The Senate majority leader, Charles Schumer, keeps saying it. The House minority leader, Hakeem Jeffries, keeps saying it. The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, keeps saying it.
So, just to lighten things up a bit, here’s Senator Kennedy on the subject: “President Biden says my party — I — want to gut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, and that’s just not true. Not even George Santos would make up a whopper like that, and the president knows that.” Good for Mr. Kennedy.
Last night on Sean Hannity’s show, I put it this way: “Biden and Schumer and Jeffries, they’re all giving us this big lie. Here’s the big lie: The Republicans are going to cut into Social Security, the Republicans are going to cut Medicare, the Republicans are gonna default on the debt. It is a complete lie. This is what authoritarians do, this is what totalitarians do. They say something that’s not true, they keep repeating it, and they hope that somehow it’s gonna become true.”
Yes, this tactic has been used by authoritarians and dictators since time immemorial, and I will guarantee you that Mr. Biden’s poll numbers, which have been sinking because of his classified documents scandal, will sink even more with this kind of fear mongering.
From the crowd that pushed $6 trillion in new spending and borrowing in the last two years, where the economy in the past year grew by only 1 percent with the highest inflation rate in the last 40 years, they can’t even consider working with a new Congress to curb overspending and debt creation.
The public has way too much common sense for this. They do not want another bout of inflation.
Mr. Scalise put it well last night, when he said Mr. Biden’s huge increase in social welfare benefits, without any work requirements, is keeping people out of the labor force, and that is actually damaging the big entitlements — because fewer people will have any resources to support and pay into Social Security and Medicare. It’s a brilliant insight by Mr. Scalise.
I’ll add one more point: All of this big-government spending, borrowing, regulating, and taxing is continuing the multi-decade trend of stagnant economic growth. The CBO just came out with a 10-year forecast of 1.5 percent annual growth. That would make the third consecutive decade of faltering American prosperity. We should be growing at 3.5 percent a year, as we did for more than 50 years after World War II.
If we were on that track, with a greatly limited government, we would be solving all of our budget and debt problems.
How about $3 of spending cuts for every new dollar of debt? A former senior adviser in the Trump administration, Kevin Hassett, is right: It’s just common sense. And how about stopping the big lie? Save America. Stop the spending.
From Mr. Kudlow’s broadcast on Fox Business News.
Larry Kudlow was the Director of the National Economic Council under President Trump from 2018-2021. His Fox Business show "Kudlow" airs at 4 p.m &. and his radio show airs on 770 ABC from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.