July 14, 2022
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) joined Neil Cavuto on Fox News today to discuss Democrats’ push to pass a reckless tax-and-spend spree, which would drive skyrocketing inflation even higher.
Following is a Transcript:
CAVUTO: Senator, obviously, what your colleague, Joe Manchin, is saying—the West Virginia Democrat, no less—'This is not the time to do anything like this.' What do you say?
BLUNT: Well, I absolutely think that's right. And, you know, Elizabeth Warren can call this something different, but what we've been calling it for months now—the reckless tax-and-spending spree—is exactly that. If the Democrats didn't learn a lesson in the bill they passed all on their own in March, right after the president was sworn in, where they basically dumped $1.9 trillion into the economy, anticipating it would be quickly spent. And most of it was. If there was ever a worse economic move than that, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find it. And now they want to repeat it again and think, somehow, that will make the problem better. It's a very scary time for American families, the highest inflation in 40 years. Joe Manchin is absolutely right when he talks about the importance of being cautious here, and not making a really bad problem even worse. They know how they created this problem. I don't know why they think getting out of this problem will be able to be happening the same way that the problem was created.
CAVUTO: You know, senator, the bottom line is: no matter where people are on this—whether it espouses your view or the Democrats' view—it looks like it's all up to the Federal Reserve to deal with it, right? I mean, they're the only game in town. And they're getting people very nervous because they're likely to keep hiking rates, maybe a lot bigger, a lot longer than we thought. What do you think of that?
BLUNT: Well, I mean, what the Federal Reserve is trying to do here is obviously respond to this out of control inflation and do that by trying to slow the economy down. That's what happens, obviously, when you raise interest rates. Why you'd have the Federal Reserve—appointed by President Biden and other presidents—why you'd have the Federal Reserve trying to slow inflation down, and then you'd be so intent on doing exactly what it says to heat it back up. It sounds like the government is not working not only with each other, they're actively working against each other, if they are allowed to get this done. You cannot put more money into this economy right now hoping it will be spent and still making the other part, the Federal Reserve, trying to keep money from going into the economy and being spent. Families feel this every day. You know, you take the spending policies, and then add to that the energy policies that were designed to drive energy prices up. And they've been very successful. Energy prices are the highest they've ever been. Gasoline prices, the highest they've ever been, except a couple of weeks ago when they got them even higher. And it's just not working.
CAVUTO: Then, how would you reverse it, right, senator? How would you reverse it? I know what you're saying about the spending under this administration. It was not as if the prior administration wasn't spending a lot of money, and deficits were running out of control. And that was even pre-COVID. So it's been a bipartisan spending spree. If Republicans were to take over the House, or even the Senate, what would you do? What would your party do about spending, period?
BLUNT: I think, one, our party would try to rein back in spending, too. We'd do everything we could do encourage the administration to reverse their energy policies and try to get the gasoline prices back where they were a year ago or two years ago. They're 60% higher than they were a year ago. They're 100% higher than they were at the end of the Trump presidency.
CAVUTO: So you've called for more energy production. I mean, about the general spending in other areas—
BLUNT: Absolutely more energy production.
CAVUTO: Would you—
BLUNT: Now, remember. Now, remember—
CAVUTO: Would you cut the budget? Would you advocate cutting the budget? You know, you would still be the opposition party. That wouldn't change whether you were in the majority or not. What would you advocate?
BLUNT: We would, and we would have to pass an appropriations bill that the president would sign, or just stick with the current spending. I'd advocate that we do all we can to keep the budget under control, reduce it where we can. But, certainly, don't keep throwing gas on this fire, and that would make a big difference. Now, you know, the energy prices are kind of at the root of everything because things have to be delivered. Heating electricity bills have to be paid. All of those things pass through pretty quickly.
CAVUTO: But what if we are beyond that, senator?
BLUNT: But the spending has made a difference.
CAVUTO: You're right. It might have started with energy and oil. But what if we are beyond that right now, and it requires more than just boosting energy production? That now this is widespread? The tentacles have spread into virtually every single item you buy, whether, you know, at a grocery store, clothing, et cetera.
BLUNT: That's right. That's right.
CAVUTO: How would you deal with that?
BLUNT: Well, I'd deal with that, first of all, by, again, not giving people more money to spend, trying to somehow think that that's going to help the economy. Remember, that $1.9 trillion got spent. It was designed to be almost immediately spent. It wasn't like a year-long appropriations bill. We're going to give you this money, even the state and local governments that didn't need money, and we're going to hope that you spend it. So we need to do that. And, remember, we did some substantial spending. No question about it, particularly in the COVID period where we didn't know what was going to happen to the economy. We were guessing, often got it right. But that was bipartisan. President Trump signed every one of those bills. This last addition made a huge difference. Remember the discretionary spending for the whole year is just a little bit more than $2 trillion. They laid another $2 trillion on top of that. And that created a lot of problems. So you can't do this all by yourself.
CAVUTO: But there was, to be fair—right, senator. There was a lot of spending under President Trump. And, certainly, it built up during COVID, and that was natural. But it got out of control, right?
BLUNT: Oh, I think, there's no question. It got out of control. There was some question, I thought, about the last bill we passed in December of 2020. But there was no question that we shouldn't pass another big bill in March of 2021. And even beyond that, you can't rectify that mistake by making it again. I hope that Build Back Broker—or Build Back whatever you want to call it—doesn't happen at all. And it would be a mistake. I think Joe Manchin and others are beginning to figure out that it would be a mistake.
CAVUTO: Got it. Senator Blunt, great catching up with you. We appreciate it.
BLUNT: Hey, great to talk to you, Neil.