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HELP Committee Republicans Press Democrats on Lack of Public Hearings on $726 Billion in Spending

Sen. Scott: We’re talking about spending more money this fiscal year than any country on Earth has ever spent – and we’re doing that in the most partisan way.

Today, during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee executive session, HELP Committee Republicans pressed for public hearings and transparency on the nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars the Committee has been tasked with spending through Democrats’ partisan spending package. 

The Democrats’ reckless tax and spending bill proposes spending more than $726 billion in the Committee’s jurisdiction. To date, there have been no Committee mark-ups or hearings on this massive partisan spending bill. In contrast, during the reconciliation process to consider the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Senate held a mark-up that lasted four consecutive days with more than 23 hours of committee time spent debating the bill. As a result, 350 amendments were filed, 69 amendments were considered, and 35 bipartisan amendments were adopted in the final text.

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) slammed Democrats for their unwillingness to work across the aisle on the largest spending package in the nation’s history.

Sen Tim Scott at HELP Hearing

WATCH: Senator Tim Scott details Republicans’ frustration with the Democrats’ handling of the reconciliation package.

“I didn’t come here to argue about the issues. I came here to make a difference about these issues,” said Senator Scott. “And frankly, I don’t think we have done a good job making a difference for the average person in this country who watches the processes and the ‘performances’ here in Washington, and they are sick to their stomach. 

“If I were in charge,” the Senator continued, “I would be thoughtful about deliberating, discussing, debating, disagreeing on those tenants and principles that we think move America in the right direction. This process has been missing. 

“We’re talking about spending more money this fiscal year than any country on Earth has ever spent. And, we’re going to do that in the most partisan way, and I know the voters are watching, and I hope that the response and the reaction they have is an allergic reaction to this process and to the spending because ultimately – and I predict this – in three to five years when we measure poverty in this country, it’ll be worse than it is today.

“What we saw after the 2017 tax reform, we saw poverty hit the lowest level ever recorded, we saw the unemployment numbers hit the lowest numbers ever recorded, we saw a labor force participation rates, in the poorest communities, go up. We saw the long-term unemployed come back to work. What are we seeing today? The exact opposite.

“So, yes we are frustrated by the lack of transparency that this nation has on the largest spending packages in the history of the country. And we are frustrated by the fact that when you call a COVID relief package – a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package – ‘COVID relief,’ about one percent goes to vaccines and nine percent goes to COVID-related health. Yes, we are concerned about the definitions of the words we are using when we have an infrastructure package that has about 10 percent in the next five years for roads and bridges.  

“It’s frustrating because the American people believe the words we use because the words we use are containers of power. And yet, we deceive the American people in our packages by naming them something that sounds good, but the details are so murky you can’t figure out what it is. And, we’re doing it again.”