[Congressional Record Volume 168, Number 125 (Wednesday, July 27, 2022)]
[Pages H7247-H7251]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                            PAIN AT THE PUMP

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 4, 2021, the Chair recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania 
(Mr. Perry) for 30 minutes.
  Mr. PERRY. Madam Speaker, thank you for recognizing the time. I also 
thank my colleague, the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Good), for being 
here with us.
  I am going to talk this evening and kind of follow up on my good 
colleague from Arizona (Mr. Schweikert). Some astounding information, 
and I know that he offers it on a regular basis, and I wish more people 
would tune in.
  Of course, I wish more people here would hear his message and, more 
importantly than hearing his message, take some action in that regard.
  It is astounding that, in a year and a half, the people who are 
working, and everybody is that can do it, they have lost a month and a 
half of wages.
  Think about how long you work every year, essentially for free, 

[[Page H7248]]

you are still working but you don't get the money because you have to 
pay your taxes, and that date moves a little back and forth. Sometimes 
it is in May. Sometimes it is in April. But then add another 2 months. 
If you add another 2 months onto that that you are working, but you are 
not being paid, that is astounding.
  As I understand it, the average wages under the President for a 
typical family--and I represent typical families. The average wage of a 
typical family right now has dropped $450 a month.
  Now, that might not seem like a lot of money to people in Washington, 
D.C., people that invest on Wall Street, people that drive fancy cars 
and belong to the country club. But where I live, $450 is real. That is 
groceries. People are trying to pay the bill for daycare so that they 
can be at work. Of course, the cost for that is going up. People are 
paying more every single day to drive the vehicle that they are 
struggling to afford.
  I talk to people every single day. Every single day, they tell me: 
``I can't pay my bills right now, and I am not sure what to do. I am 
trying to decide how much to spend on food because I know I have to 
have enough for gas, and it is not just enough for the end of the week. 
I am never going to catch up at the rate we are going. I am not going 
to catch up. What is happening? What are we doing?''
  I mean, look at the price of gas. I mean, the President just released 
another day's worth of supply from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
  Mr. Good, you haven't been here very long, but you know the Strategic 
Petroleum Reserve is meant for natural disasters or national security 
events. It is not meant for political crises.
  A day's worth of oil sold on the open market, I imagine so that the 
President can say, ``Look, I am trying to help.'' But it is like the 
fireman saying, ``Hey, look, I am putting out the fire,'' when the 
fireman started the fire in the first place.
  Nobody says, ``Well, that is great. We are happy you are putting out 
the fire, but if you hadn't started it in the first place, we wouldn't 
be in this problem.''
  Mr. Good, are you talking to folks like this where you live?
  Mr. GOOD of Virginia. I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania, the 
chairman of our Freedom Caucus, for allowing me to join tonight.
  It is the fireman whose solution is to start more fires, quite 
  You wonder, this President, his administration, is there a devious, 
malicious intent, or is there just an illiteracy, a failure to 
recognize basic economic principles, as the gentleman from Arizona was 
just talking about tonight?

  Their war that they have declared on fossil fuels, their war that 
they have declared on the American energy industry, is dishonest and 
dangerous demonization of an industry that is vital to our economy, 
vital to our industry, vital to our national security.
  To inherit a year and a half ago American energy independence for the 
first time ever and $2 gas prices--I know we talked about the 2020 
campaign over and over. Do you like Trump's $2 gas prices, or do you 
like Obama-Biden's $4 gas prices?
  Who would have known that in just a year and a half's time, they 
would be so good at jacking those prices up to $5 a gallon? What is 
their solution to that? Oh, just go spend 70,000 bucks on your Tesla.
  The more pain that you experience, said their Transportation 
Secretary, who knows nothing about transportation, has no experience in 
transportation, but said: Hey, the more pain you experience, that just 
means the more benefit that is being enjoyed. So, hey, buy yourself a 
$70,000 Tesla if you can't afford to put gas in your cars.
  It is making no measurable or negligible difference on the cost of 
gas or the cost of fuel, but what it has done is to compromise our 
national security, once again, our economic security, once again. 
Emptying our Strategic Petroleum Reserves for political purposes is 
just an egregious failure, once again, by this administration.
  Mr. PERRY. It is an egregious failure. I have to remind everybody 
that that oil, that strategic reserve, was put in there at rock bottom 
  Mr. GOOD of Virginia. That is right.
  Mr. PERRY. We filled it up and paid as little as possible for it, 
probably the lowest prices in decades, and now it is out there being 
spent at the highest prices ever.

                              {time}  2000

  Mr. GOOD of Virginia. Well, you might think you can go to President 
Trump and get him to sell it at those prices from 6 years ago.
  Mr. PERRY. Not only that, as the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Good), 
my friend, knows--look, I am from Pennsylvania, we have got a lot of 
natural resources right under our feet.
  Instead of coming to Americans to say, ``Can we produce more?'' he is 
going to people that hate America--Venezuela, Saudi Arabia--even as 
much as saying that, even though we have sanctioned Iran's oil with 
this potential Iran nuclear deal pending, they would go there and ask 
  But we are getting too far afield here. Look, people are struggling 
every single day. This is not due to incompetence. This is not due to 
negligence. This is a plan. This is on purpose.
  Mr. GOOD of Virginia. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. PERRY. I yield to the gentleman from Virginia.
  Mr. GOOD of Virginia. They are executing the plan.
  Mr. PERRY. Yeah, they are executing the plan. This is by design.
  We live in an energy economy. Whether you like it or whether you 
don't, whether you agree with it or whether you don't, whether we can 
get to more clean energy at some point in the future than we have now 
or whether we can't get there as fast as we would like to, we are where 
we are right now.
  Most of us are reliant on the natural resources that are beneath our 
feet that the Earth provides for us. We have done a great job in 
America of doing it more cleanly, more professionally, more ethically 
than any other country on the planet. But yet there is this war on 
these natural resources and a failure or a refusal to acknowledge that 
in raising those prices, when the policies raise those prices, they 
touch every single American citizen, every single one.
  So it is not just the gas at the pump, because that is tough enough, 
but the guy that is driving the truck that brings that stuff, he has 
got to pay a higher price, and so he has got to charge you a higher 
price. And the electricity that is generated, that costs more. So every 
single means of production, every single point along the way raises the 
  How is that manifested? People go to the store, whether it is the 
grocery store or whether it is a retail outlet--you saw one of the 
major retail outlets just talked about, just issued their report that 
their sales are down on regular consumer goods because people can't 
afford them--people cannot afford to buy them.
  People are having to make difficult choices, not because this is just 
happening, but because this is being imposed on them. It is being 
imposed on them.
  I saw the Fed today increased the rate 75 basis points. Most people 
say, well, what does that mean to me? That means the value of your 
dollar, every dollar that you get is worth less, right?
  Inflation. People say, well, what does inflation mean? Inflation is 
taxation. Inflation is the cost of living. Inflation is when you go to 
the grocery store, if you can find peanut butter on the shelf and you 
could afford two jars of it for your children last month, you are going 
to have to pay more this month and maybe you are going to have to cut 
back on toilet paper that you couldn't get 2 months ago or maybe you 
are going to have to cut back on baby formula that you can't afford to 
cut back on because your baby is crying. That is what it means.
  The whole way up and down the chain, everybody, the value of every 
single dollar you earn is worth less, not to mention the fact, as my 
friend from Arizona mentioned, that you are already working about 1\1/
2\ months more without pay because of this.
  This is what is happening to the American people, and nothing is 
being done to reverse course to change this. Nothing is being done.
  I see my good friend, the gentleman from the great State of Georgia 
(Mr. Hice) is here. I just wonder if he wants to comment on any of 
  Mr. HICE of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, listen, you are spot on. It is 

[[Page H7249]]

everything. I honestly can't think of anything that the cost is not 
going up, whether we are talking food or fuel or energy or travel, 
vehicles. Across the board, it is all going up to the tune now of about 
$500 a month that the average family is having to pay more. I mean, 
$6,000 a year.
  Literally, we are at a point in our Nation's history because of the 
horrific economic policies of this administration and this Democratic 
Party and the policies that they are pushing, that families literally 
are having to make choices, and they are concerned, literally, about 
feeding their family, about having a roof over their head, about 
putting gas in their cars.
  This is the type of impact that these horrible policies are having on 
the American families, and it is all so unnecessary. That is what is 
aggravating about all of this. It all has to do with policies, horrible 
policies. All of this could have been and should have been avoided.
  Mr. PERRY. Now, my friend from Georgia, I haven't been to the 
district that you are privileged and honored to represent. I have been 
to Mr. Good's, and I can tell you, they are hardworking, taxpaying, 
law-abiding folks. A lot of them live out in the country, don't live in 
mansions. They are struggling to get by. I suspect you are hearing it 
in your district.
  Mr. HICE of Georgia. Oh, absolutely.
  Mr. PERRY. I suspect you are hearing it from average working citizens 
who aren't connected to Washington, D.C., don't have some special 
privileges, struggling to get by at the grocery store. We would love to 
hear some of those stories because those are real people that we are 
here trying to advocate for. They sent you here to fight for them.
  Mr. HICE of Georgia. That is right, and they are suffering. People 
across the board are literally suffering right now and having to make 
critical decisions and some even to the point of getting rid of their 
pets because it is more important to get food on the table for their 
kids, obviously, than it is for pets. We have had two or three 
different stories of just that type of thing alone.

  What is the administration's response to all this? Well, it is to 
double down on things like climate change, which ultimately is just 
going to raise taxes more. It is to spend more money that we don't 
have, which just exacerbates the problem.
  It is horrible what the American people are facing right now. It, 
again, is so unnecessary. We should not be here; we were not here. Just 
1\1/2\, 2 years ago, things were vastly different.
  Mr. PERRY. Go ahead, Mr. Good.
  Mr. GOOD of Virginia. To Mr. Hice's comment about $6,000, the average 
family paying $500 more a month, $6,000 more per year, that is net 
take-home cost. That means you have to earn some $10,000 to make the 
$6,000 that you are losing just to break even.
  So essentially we have lost $10,000 worth of gross income to 
Bidenflation, the Biden price hike. You wonder about the 
administration, you know, do they not know or do they not care?
  It is not just the gas prices, which as we know--and we would hope 
that they would understand, but perhaps they don't or, again, perhaps 
they don't care, whichever is worse--but the number one thing that 
impacts American families--middle-income, low-income, fixed-income 
folks--is what they are paying at the pump.
  It is not just the gas prices that have doubled under this 
administration, but it is all the other fuel costs that are going up. 
It is everything that is shipped, which is everything that we buy, so 
it is driving up inflation across the board. It is everything that is 
produced from petroleum products driving up prices further.
  Then there is the lie about the fact that we could ever move to 
renewables anyway, which is a lie to begin with. Then there is the 
climate damage that they are causing because we are buying fuel from 
other countries who are not the clean producers that we are.
  Meanwhile, it is being shipped across the ocean, which causes more 
pollution, so it is contrary to what they say they want to believe from 
a climate standpoint, not to mention the embarrassment of sending our 
President overseas, as Mr. Perry said, proverbial gas can in hand, 
pleading and begging with other countries to provide what we can 
produce for ourselves, not to mention the national security risk, being 
dependent on foreign countries--who hate us--for vital energy, not to 
mention enriching Putin with the ability to sell fuel at a higher price 
to fund his war, not to mention having Europe get greater dependence on 
  The whole piece together--economically, national security, even the 
climate concern that he claims to have--is all compromised by what he 
is doing, intentionally, willfully executing the plan, Mr. Perry, as 
you said, on the war on American energy.
  Mr. PERRY. And not to mention selling portions of the Strategic 
Petroleum Reserve to China. To China. Again, the national security 
  Mr. GOOD of Virginia. Who he thinks is a competitor, not an 
  Mr. PERRY. That is exactly right, it is an adversary. Because they 
say so. We wish it weren't true, but they say so.
  I am reading that 26 million low-income households who had managed to 
put aside a nest egg over the term of the last Presidency and the last 
economy before a year ago have had that savings wiped out just trying 
to keep up with the prices that are now occurring, and we are only 1\1/
2\ years into this.
  You know, we heard in the beginning, well, inflation is transitory, 
don't worry, it is not going to last. Then we heard, it is only going 
to be a point, a small interest rate raise here or there to control 
this inflation.
  When are we going to stop believing these lies? This is not 
transitory. Now, of course, they are saying, well, look, this is not a 
recession. A recession is two quarters of declining GDP, that is what 
it has always been described as. Now, since the left is in charge, it 
means something else.
  Here is what it means to families who are struggling. They see no 
light at the end of the tunnel. They don't know where this ends. They 
are having a hard time paying their mortgage, their car payments, and 
trying to figure out if they can afford their insurance payments which 
the government has really messed up by being involved in--too involved 
in--healthcare. There is no free market there. There is no price 
competition there because the government is too involved.
  People have to pay their bills. And they didn't have this stress 1\1/
2\ years ago, but they have got it right now. The worst part is, there 
is no end in sight. They don't see anything changing, right? They just 
saw basis points go up again today.
  Look, if you are a young couple that is trying to start out--look, 
maybe you are an older couple and you are trying to downsize and you 
got preapproved for a loan, then the Fed goes ahead and raises the 
interest rate, and you start the process all over again because you are 
not preapproved anymore because your buying power just went down, I 
don't know, maybe about $100,000, which is significant when you are 
trying to buy a home and get started or when you are trying to downsize 
from the home you can't afford now.
  Go ahead, Mr. Hice.
  Mr. HICE of Georgia. That is exactly right. You are spot on. Listen, 
this administration can try all they want to redefine the meaning of a 
recession, but they cannot change the realities of what this means to 
the average family.
  Like you just described, we have people who are trying to get in 
homes, and with the hike today, there is no question that is going to 
prevent many people from being able to get that car that they 
desperately need to replace the one that is falling apart or a home or 
whatever it may be, loans of different types. This is going to, right 
out of the gate, take thousands and thousands and thousands of people 
across this country away from being able to get those things.

  I was speaking just this week with a leader in the construction 
industry in the State of Georgia, and I just said, Tell me the truth, 
what is your future? And he said, it was dismal. Man, we are seeing the 
brakes being put on in a major, major way.
  Of course, as far as construction, right now Georgia is a major mover 
and shaker, and they are seeing it come to a halt, in his words--just 
along with what you said--we see no end in sight. It is just now 
starting to slow down, but we do not see on the horizon anywhere soon 
that this is going to be turning the corner.

[[Page H7250]]


  Mr. GOOD of Virginia. They are getting hit on so many levels, as you 
said, Mr. Hice. Housing costs are through the roof, home prices, rental 
costs through the roof. At the same time, interest rates are surging--
we have got 75 basis points increase again today--interest rates going 
through the roof, so they are getting squeezed terribly on housing.
  At the same time, inflation is eating away at everything, their 
purchasing power generally. So what do you have here? Wages have gone 
up some 4 to 5 percent, but it has been doubled by inflation. So real 
wages have gone down by 4 to 5 percent, so you are making less than you 
were a year ago, your housing costs are through the roof compared to a 
year ago, and you can't afford to heat your home, fill your car.
  To your point earlier, Mr. Perry, the Democrats' response is to 
double down on the policies that caused it to begin with. The President 
has even said: We are going through a transition; we are part way 
through the transition. When we get through to the other side, 
everything is going to be better.
  I guess when you don't have a job, when you don't have a home, when 
you don't have a car, and you are dependent on the government for some 
meager subsistence to try to just barely get by. But yet you can say, 
well, I guess I have no energy, which is the same thing as how they 
define clean energy, then I guess they will declare that as victory 
with the policies they have enacted and inflicted the American people 
  Mr. PERRY. Mr. Good, you are right.
  Mr. Hice, with all due respect, you live in Georgia, but Mr. Good 
mentioned heating your home. Now it is the height of summer, right? The 
dog days of summer are upon us. Right now we are trying to cool our 
homes, and we are in fear of blackouts across these United States of 
America in the 21st century. Unnecessary, but a reality. California, 
Texas, coming across the country, all due to policy.
  But what is coming up is going to be devastating. It is going to be 
devastating to people across the country, especially in the northern 
portions of it where I live, where Mr. Good lives, and you are going to 
suffer a portion of it, too, the inability to afford to heat your home 
because electricity prices are going through the roof as well.
  People realize it now, and they see it now as they pay for their air 
conditioning, and they probably raised the temperature in the home a 
little bit to try to help defray the costs, but heating your home is 
different, and being very, very cold in the wintertime, people die from 
that. People die from that, especially in places where I live where 
winters can be harsh, and they are much harsher in points further 
north. That is coming.
  When you talk about the rise in the cost of living, inflation, and 
essentially taxation, when you talk about that with no end in sight--
people are trying right now, they can't pay their bills now. They 
certainly can't put anything aside to plan for what they know is 
coming, it is going to be a long, tough winter. It starts getting cold, 
it starts going below freezing just right here in Washington, D.C., 
mid-October. It is right around the corner, and it is going to last 
until the end of March into April and May of next year. It is coming, 
and right now there is no end in sight. We haven't heard anything from 
the administration about how people are going to be helped to afford to 
pay their bills.

                              {time}  2015

  You are not going to be able to sit in the car and turn it on and 
turn the heater on, because you can't afford the gas. You are not going 
to be able to sit in your home and turn the heat on. That is coming.
  Mr. HICE of Georgia. You are right, Mr. Perry.
  What concerns me as well is what you just described is just a couple 
months away. States like yours, they are going to start feeling the 
cold of winter and will need to start heating their homes.
  So the question then becomes: What are we doing about that here in 
Congress? What makes me scratch my head right now is we are not having 
any hearings on this issue. We had a hearing today on banning guns. We 
had a hearing last week on attacking the energy sector. We are voting 
on bills this week about big cats, of all things.
  I mean, the lack of concern coming from the other side is devastating 
to the American people who right now already are going through some of 
the darkest days of their lives. It is only going to get worse as 
winter starts coming in the months ahead, and our colleagues on the 
opposite side of the aisle right now seem totally unconcerned. We are 
not even having hearings to discuss this. That, to me, is inexcusable.
  Mr. GOOD of Virginia. The solutions to it, as we all know, are to 
stop the spending, stop printing money, stop causing inflation by 
continuing the economic policies and the fiscal policies of this 
administration. Stop the spending, stop printing money that we don't 
have, and driving inflation. Stop ruining our fiscal future. That is 
going to cause interest on the national debt to increase. The part of 
our budget that has to fund the national debt is going to increase, 
getting nothing for that.
  Secondly, stop paying people not to work. Stop incentivizing and 
subsidizing the wrong behaviors. Stop making people comfortable as we 
grow the welfare state and grow the dependent state. Reverse the energy 
policy. Stop the war on American energy. Unleash American energy again. 
Go back to the Trump policies. Lower taxes. Allow more Americans to 
keep more of their earnings. Stimulate the economy that way. Stimulate 
growth and investment in businesses. Then deregulate. End the 
regulatory assault on American businesses and the American economy. And 
then, finally, cut and reduce government.
  We have got to do those things. Those are the proactive steps that 
will take place. This administration and this Democrat majority has 
shown no willingness to recognize how they have caused these problems 
and how the American people are suffering as a result.
  Instead, they want to push through more of the build back bankrupt 
agenda. They want to break that up into pieces and try to pass that in 
this remaining 6 months of this election cycle.
  Mr. PERRY. I can't imagine that our colleagues don't care. We can't 
imagine that.
  We are not here to fearmonger. We are talking about real-life 
situations that are occurring. This is not about trying to invoke fear 
in the people that pay our salary, our bosses, our constituents. But we 
are here to defend them and to be their voice and to echo in these 
Halls the things that they tell us, the things that they are enduring 
every single day, the things that they are having to live through.
  When you talk about it happening right now, it is happening right 
now. My concern, among others, that is happening right now is there is 
no end in sight. None of these things are fixed overnight. This has 
been a--I wouldn't say a slow-moving train. It has actually been a 
fairly quickly moving train for about a year-and-a-half where we have 
watched the decline of our purchasing power, we have watched the 
increase of everything that we can't afford, lack of things on the 
shelf, like peanut butter, basic staples, baby food. We have watched 
all of that.
  These things take time to be resolved. And if they are going to be 
resolved at any point in the future, we have to get started now; 
sometime. I don't know when it is going to be. We are here this week, 
and then we are going to be gone in August. Then everybody is going to 
come back in September to see how much more money we can spend before 
the end of the year, right? And nothing on the agenda that I see, 
nothing so far that we have voted on this week, has done anything to 
lead us to believe that we are going to address this problem.
  So we are frustrated for the people that we have to face every single 
day who come up to us at the grocery store. We are buying gas, too. We 
are at our grocery stores. We are at the hardware store. We are at the 
feed store. We are at the clothing store and retail outlets. They walk 
up to you and say: What are you doing about it to stop it?
  We don't have the executive branch, Mr. Hice. We certainly don't have 
this branch. The power of the purse belongs in this branch. Look, you 
don't want to disparage sailors, but they are spending like somebody 
who doesn't care

[[Page H7251]]

about how much money they spend. It is very, very frustrating.
  So all we are left with, Mr. Good, my friend from Virginia, is the 
rhetoric we have to let the people at home know that we think enough of 
them, and we care enough about what they are dealing with to come in 
and make sure that it is put on the record for all posterity, for all 
time, that we recognize what is happening to them. We do not agree with 
this. If we were in charge here, things wouldn't be happening this way.
  Mr. HICE of Georgia. If I could just add a thought to that. This is 
not and should not be a Republican issue versus a Democrat. This is an 
American issue. Both parties, Independents, people who have no 
affiliation, the country is suffering under this.
  I don't know if you saw the recent poll that said only 1 percent of 
Americans believe that the current economic conditions are excellent, 
only 1 percent. Twelve percent said it was good. That leaves 87 percent 
of this country admitting we are in bad economic circumstances in a 
variety of the spectrum there of how they described it. But 87 percent, 
that is Democrats and Republicans and Independents and people who never 
vote. That is our country that is suffering.

  So I think it is important that we do all we can to stand up for the 
entire Nation right now and say it is time to make some key changes.
  The free enterprise system is the greatest economic engine in the 
history of the world, and we are suffocating it right now by advancing 
policies that are just destructive, and the impact of that is not only 
on our economic system but on individual lives.
  Mr. PERRY. With about the minute-and-a-half we have left, I will turn 
it to Mr. Good. He can close it out or I will.
  I think, Mr. Hice, you have characterized it correctly. It doesn't 
matter whether you live in the country or the city or the suburbs. 
Doesn't matter what your background is. Everybody is feeling this.
  Mr. GOOD of Virginia. Our future with these policies, especially on 
the energy side--look at California with the brown-outs they are 
experience. That is our future for the country. Look at Europe, who is 
going to freeze this winter because of the way they have compromised 
their energy policies and tried to move to renewables, and they cannot 
heat their homes this coming winter.
  To paraphrase what Ronald Reagan said: Recession is when your 
neighbor loses his job; depression is when you lose your job; recovery, 
though, is when Democrats in Congress lose their job. Hope is coming.
  Mr. PERRY. I think that is well put.
  Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.