Several senators brought up concerns surrounding the national debt throughout the confirmation hearings for President-elect Biden’s Cabinet nominees 

These same senators supported the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that gave millions in tax cuts to corporations and billionaires and increased the deficit by more than $1T

As the American people continue to suffer from the ongoing health crisis and mass unemployment, the same senators who blew up the deficit are now using it as an excuse to object to relief for hardworking families, hypocritically blaming the rising national debt 

Washington, D.C. – Today, in a confirmation hearing for Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen, several Senate Republicans objected to the incoming administration’s plan to invest in American families, specifically grilling Yellen over her call to “act big” to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent economic effects. However, many of these same senators discarded their alleged concerns for the deficit when they voted in favor of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that gave millions in tax cuts to the wealthy and well-connected, and raised the deficit by more than $1 trillion. Now, when hard working American families need help more than ever, Republican senators are threatening to block much-needed aid for their suffering constituents and are pretending to be concerned about increasing the national debt, a hypocritical and dangerous stance that would have devastating implications for workers and families if it were allowed to obstruct COVID relief and economic support.

Legislation from the Trump administration has added $4.7 trillion to the deficit, helping the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations:

“Senators who are happy to blow up the deficit for massive tax giveaways for corporations and billionaires, but so far seem to be refusing to help working families in the middle of a once-in-a-generation pandemic and amid historic levels of unemployment, should be ashamed of themselves and called out for their hypocrisy and out-of-whack priorities,” said Mairead Lynn, spokesperson for Accountable Senate War Room. “As members of their communities are dying, being forced into poverty, or going hungry, these senators are once again bringing up bad-faith and fake concerns about the deficit that they spent years ignoring to help the wealthy and well-connected. The deficit didn’t stop them from supporting the disastrous 2017 GOP tax law that added more than $1 trillion to the national debt, and it shouldn’t stop them from helping struggling families through this crisis.” 

Below are some excerpts from today’s hearings: 

  • Senator Rob Portman: “A Treasury Secretary can be very powerful within an administration, providing a voice for fiscal sanity and I would urge you to do that…We have historic levels of deficits now and as a percentage of our GDP, not seen since World War II, which is frightening.” [C-SPAN, 1/19/2021]
  • Senator Pat Toomey, an architect of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: “I look forward to working with you (Yellen) but I have to admit that the contours of the stimulus bill as proposed by the Biden administration are going to make that difficult…We’re looking at another spending blowout. The only organizing principle I can discern is that it seems to spend as much money as possible seemingly for the sake of spending it.” [C-SPAN, 1/19/2021
  • Senator John Thune: “The one thing that concerns me that no one seems to be talking anymore about is the massive amount of debt that we continue to rack up as a nation.” [C-SPAN, 1/19/2021
  • Senator Chuck Grassley: “Do you think it makes sense for the pandemic relief efforts to prioritize six-figure tax cuts for the wealthiest few when millions of middle-class American families are struggling to make ends meet? And would you include repealing the SALT cap and any relief or stimulus bill?” [C-SPAN, 1/19/2021

Republicans On The Senate Finance Committee Voted For The 2017 GOP Tax Bill That Was Expected To Add More Than $1 Trillion To The Deficit… 

  • Sens. Grassley, Crapo, Cornyn, Thune, Burr, Portman, Toomey, Cassidy, Lankford, Daines, Young, Sasse, And Tim Scott Voted For The 2017 GOP Tax Cut And Jobs Act. [United States Senate, 12/02/17]  
  • Trump’s Tax Reform Projected An Increase In The National Deficit By $1.5 Trillion Over 10 Years. “Congress is speeding toward a budget plan that, in the name of cutting taxes, lets the government collect $1.5 trillion less revenue for the next 10 years.” [CNBC, 10/23/17
  • Vox: The GOP Tax Plan “Is Projected To Raise The Deficit By $1.5 Trillion Dollars, Justified By Republicans On Economic Gains They Say It Would Spur.” “The Senate version of the tax bill would permanently slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, allow its individual tax cuts to expire, and is projected to raise the deficit by $1.5 trillion dollars — worth it, Republicans say, for the economic gains they believe it would spur.” [Vox, 11/27/17]

Watchdog group Accountable.US recently launched the Accountable Senate War Room to fight back against those lawmakers who seek to overturn the will of the people by standing in the way of the smooth transition of power and the swift approval of nominees to ensure that the government can function and deliver results for the American people.

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