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December 1, 2021

Pressley Calls Out GOP Hypocrisy, Lies About Build Back Better Act, Corrects Record on Economic Benefits of Historic Bill

Video (YouTube) 

WASHINGTON – Today, in a House Financial Services Committee hearing, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) called out Republicans’ hypocrisy and lies about the economic benefits of the Build Back Better Act. Rep. Pressley questioned Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about the bill’s numerous benefits for workers, families and communities across the country, and refuted Republican arguments that the bill would cause long term inflation or add to the deficit.

 A full transcript of her exchange with Secretary Yellen is available below, and video is available here 

Transcript: Pressley Calls Out GOP Hypocrisy, Lies About Build Back Better Act, Corrects Record on Economic Benefits of Historic Bill
House Financial Services Committee
December 1, 2021 

REP. PRESSLEY: Thank you Madam Chair, the House just passed the Build Back Better Act. We’re closer than ever to delivering overdue support for workers, for families and the economy. There’s truly just so much for us to feel hopeful about. Unfortunately, many Republicans are working overtime to distract from these historic accomplishments. 

Today, they speak about inflation and they speak about it without any nuance or any context and they refuse to put forth serious solutions. 

They use their platforms to discourage people from getting vaccinated which will only prolong pandemic-induced inflation. 

They spread lies the Build Back Better Act will add to the deficit, despite three years ago, enthusiastically passing Trump’s tax break for the wealthy bill, knowing it would add $2 trillion to the deficit. 

I’m tired of the fear mongering and misinformation. So let’s today, in this moment, set the record straight about the Build Back Better Act. Secretary Yellen, please answer yes or no to these questions wherever possible. 

Would providing universal pre-K and drastically cutting the cost of childcare have a positive impact on the economy? 

SECRETARY YELLEN: Yes, I believe it would, it would promote higher labor force participation. And these investments in children would have a significant payoff, making them more successful and better prepared to succeed in our economy. 

REP. PRESSLEY: And would making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and families have a positive impact on the economy, yes or no? 

SECRETARY YELLEN: Yes, it would certainly cut the cost of living, especially for retirees who have been struggling with the cost of prescription drugs, but many others as well. 

REP. PRESSLEY: And would investing in more affordable housing have a positive impact on the economy? Yes or no? 

SECRETARY YELLEN: Yes. I think that’s been a very significant problem for decades, and has made it exceptionally difficult, especially for lower income families to manage in expensive parts of the country. 

REP. PRESSLEY: And would the expansion of the Child Tax Credit, a tax cut for the lowest earning families, have a positive impact on the economy, yes or no? 

SECRETARY YELLEN: Yes and it’s already done so. In the months after the child tax credit has been paid out, we have seen a substantial decrease in the number of families reporting food insecurity. 

REP. PRESSLEY: So zero Republicans, zero, voted for the Build Back Better Act despite it containing substantial, serious and popular solutions to combat inflation, supply chain issues, and financial hardship — solutions that are fully paid for — to try to justify their no vote. 

They are spreading lies about this bill. They say the bill will cause long term inflation. Wrong! That is a falsehood. 

They say it will add to the deficit. Wrong! That is a falsehood. 

Anything to delay solutions and distract the public from their government spending hypocrisy. 

Secretary Yellen, what are the real causes of inflation? And how will policies that stop the spread of COVID-19 and support labor participation help to fight it?

SECRETARY YELLEN: Well, to my mind, the real causes of inflation reflect the impact the pandemic has had on the economy. The programs that have supported income have kept demand at a solid pace and enabled our economy to grow, the fastest of any economy to bring down unemployment toward more normal levels. But because of the pandemic, demand shifted massively away from services and toward goods. That huge demand for goods has resulted in massive supply chain bottlenecks that have crippled our ports, transportation system and caused a shortage of semiconductors that have led to huge increases in the price of new and used vehicles. And because of the pandemic, a substantial number of workers who have not returned to the labor force, I believe, because they’re concerned about the health consequences of working in face to face type jobs. And probably also because of child care concerns.