For too long, Washington special interests and big corporations have shaped the policies that impact hardworking Americans. That’s why, as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, my number one priority is ensuring the working class has a seat at the table when it comes to crafting policies and legislation that impact just about every aspect of their lives.
As part of my commitment to putting workers first, the Ways and Means Committee held its first hearing of the new Republican Majority at a lumber company in Petersburg, W. Va., a small town that’s more than a hundred miles away from the marble halls of Congress. At the hearing, workers and small business owners described the state of the economy in Appalachia – a region of the country with many similarities to the Ozark foothills. The hearing was crystal-clear proof of just how difficult life is for working-class Americans after two years of one-party Democrat rule in Washington.
Among the top challenges facing small business owners, families, and farmers is the sky-high cost of everyday goods, which have risen 14.4% since President Joe Biden took office and began his $10 trillion wasteful spending spree.
Ashley Bachman, a mom of three and local restaurant owner, described the difficulty of running a business in Biden’s economy.
“Our little restaurant has been bleeding money due to all the increased costs, and I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to continue with the prices the way they are,” she testified.
Between inflation, the cost of propane doubling since 2020, and rent increasing 125% over the past 5 years, she’s worried that her restaurant – a local favorite – will have to close its doors for good.
It’s no secret that energy costs are among the most painful parts of this economic crisis for families.
“I watched the small towns of my home state fall on incredibly hard times all because of anti-coal policies that were being pushed in Washington, D.C., by people who had never even been to the place where I grew up,” said Jamie Ward, a 30-year coal industry worker, in his testimony before the committee.
He hit the nail on the head: wealthy liberal donors and radical Democrats could care less that their war on American energy is driving costs through the roof, inflicting significant harm on millions of Americans.
Whether it’s a restaurant in West Virginia or a furniture store in southern Missouri, Main Street businesses across the nation are struggling to stay open because they can’t fill job vacancies – a direct consequence of Washington Democrats supercharging unemployment benefits during the pandemic.
Tom Plaugher, a 25-year employee of a lumber company, stated that the worker shortage is stifling growth for his company and the entire lumber industry. But as we also heard in Bachman’s testimony, the worker shortage is among the top challenges for businesses in every part of the country.
There’s no question that the committee’s very first hearing was a success. We were able to give hardworking Americans the opportunity to share their first-hand accounts of how their lives and livelihoods have been impacted by Washington Democrats’ radical policies and wasteful spending. Thanks to their testimony, we can now start putting their ideas into solutions and policies to make life easier for hardworking Americans.
Delivering for the working class has – and always will be – my top priority. I’m eager to get back on the road to bring hearings of the Ways and Means Committee to more communities across the nation so we can hear directly from farmers, ranchers, and small businesses of all types about which policies are working and which ones aren’t.