US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: The President’s Words Ring Hollow

The President’s Words Ring Hollow
By Sen. John Thune

Sadly, a theme of President Biden’s presidency has been the disconnect between what he says and what he does. I wasn’t sure which president we would see when he gave his first joint address to Congress. Would he echo the tone of his inauguration – calling for unity and bipartisanship? Or would the president speak more honestly about his administration’s agenda – chock-full of left-wing policies? In the end, President Biden doubled down on his support for the radical liberal policies that have defined his presidency so far.

President Biden spoke extensively about his “American Jobs Plan,” an ironically named bill since it hikes taxes on many employers – putting the brakes on our economic recovery and slowing job growth. President Biden’s proposed tax hikes may help Democrats realize their socialist vision for our country, but won’t help working Americans when employers are forced to cut jobs. Beyond raising taxes, less than 6 percent of this so-called “infrastructure” bill would go to roads and bridges.

In his address, President Biden also quickly mentioned immigration but skirted around the real issue – the humanitarian crisis worsening every day on our southern border. The president called on Republicans to support his one-sided immigration bill, which would give citizenship to millions of people illegally living in America. What message does that send to people in Mexico and Central America who are thinking of making the dangerous trek to cross our border illegally? It says, if you can make it here, you can stay here. But, there is nothing compassionate about immigration policies that encourage people to attempt a dangerous border crossing, running the risk of injury, exploitation, and disease. The only people I saw on my recent trip to the border being helped by the administration rolling back effective border policies were the smugglers and human traffickers. The children I saw in overcrowded border facilities haven’t benefited from President Biden’s weak border policies, logistical failures, and welcoming rhetoric.

After hitting on a laundry list of left-wing policy goals – including free college and a huge expansion of the federal government – President Biden ended his long address with calls for unity. But, 100 days into a presidency notable for its lack of bipartisanship, these words ring hollow. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who outlined the conservative vision in the Republican response to President Biden’s address, noted that Americans are “starving for more than empty platitudes.” He couldn’t be more right, and he succeeded in giving so much more than platitudes. He laid out a clear and detailed vision for the future of this country. I hope that every American – Republican and Democrat – heard his words and understands our vision: a vision of hard work, opportunity, and a brighter future ahead.

I’ll say this: If President Biden sincerely wants to work with Republicans to build a better future for every American, he won’t find a more willing partner. But Senate Republicans will not sign off on the radical liberal policies that the president outlined in his speech. I sincerely hope the president reverses course and decides to embrace bipartisanship. The challenges we face as a nation are too great to go it alone.

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