by Judson Phillips
Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty are on a mission to stop Congress and the White House’s rampant, out-of-control spending agenda that is raising the cost of living for far too many Tennessee families.
Because of the extensive giveaways that Beltway politicians continue doling out, the federal printing press has remained in maximum overdrive, bringing U.S. inflation to record levels. In May, the Consumer Price Index, the index that measures the price fluctuations of everyday household goods, jumped by 5-percent — the most significant year-to-year increase since the 2008 recession. In the region where the government tracks Tennessee, CPI clocked in above the national average at 5.6-percent.
Blackburn and Hagerty have expressed concern at how Washington’s careless tax-and-spend agenda is affecting their constituents. Blackburn said that “a few thousand” Tennessee residents voiced concerns to her about “rising prices at the store, at the pump, and even further up the supply chain.” Hagerty echoed her worries, remarking, “trillion-dollar spending sprees” are hurting “Tennessee’s poorest families and workers the most, and is a clear and immediate tax on the middle class.”
What is the Beltway solution to this dilemma? To increase the speed of the spending, of course.
The Biden administration recently introduced a $6 trillion budget plan that features an eye-popping grab bag of wasteful political priorities. It allocates millions to expanding “racial justice,” advancing the largest investment in “climate justice” in American history, and to funding electric vehicles that only the well-to-do can afford. If authorized by Congress, this budget will yet again put hardworking Tennesseans in the position of having to pay for the out-of-touch dreams of the political establishment.
While this presidential budget request is as tone-deaf as they come, the most dangerous examples of extravagant spending come not within the shiny media objects like this one but rather in obscure pieces of legislation that Congress could seek to pass while few are watching.
Take the Lumbee Recognition Act, for example. Although remaining under most reporters and analysts’ radars, the bill comes with a close to $1 billion price tag, and with it, the potential to grant a lifetime of money to a questionable Native American tribe out of neighboring North Carolina.
For over a century, the Lumbees have failed to obtain federal recognition because of broad skepticism over the group’s legitimacy. David Cornsilk, a former genealogical researcher for the Department of Interior, recently made this skepticism clear. He called the Lumbees “cultural chameleons” that “have borrowed the cultural identity of tribes around them and from Hollywood depictions of Indians.”
The group’s unwillingness to engage in processes to substantiate their tribal lineage certainly makes them seem like just another special interest group looking for a government handout. Yet, some members of Congress now appear more than willing to spend the near $1 billion it will cost to grant this group federal recognition, ostensibly to win a few political points come election time.
Why is it that so many of the U.S.’s elected representatives continue to pander to special interest groups rather than ensure every dollar it approves works towards bettering life on Main Street?
Thankfully, however, Blackburn and Hagerty are saying no to Washington’s reckless tax-and-spend agenda. They recognize that people, not politics, should drive policy decisions. With the balance of power split nearly evenly in the U.S. Senate, their voices will carry great sway when each of these items comes to the Floor for consideration.
Tennesseans everywhere should be grateful for Blackburn and Hagerty’s courage and leadership, and they should pray that their senators receive enough support from their Republican colleagues to squash these reckless spending initiatives once and for all. After this year-plus of great turmoil, the last thing The Volunteer State needs is even more losses to their purchasing power.
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Judson Phillips is a long time conservative pundit and founder of Tea Party Nation.