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“Madam Speaker — 35 years ago, I fulfilled my American Dream to own a business when I opened a small deli when I was only 20 years old.

“As a former small business owner, I understand how tough things can be, even in the good times.

“Running a small business taught me two important lessons:

“First, you are the first to work, the last to leave, and the last to get paid.

“Second, your margins are tight, and high taxes too often make it impossible for Main Street to beat the odds.

“These lessons, which inspired me to enter public service, come to mind as we mark Tax Day.

“We should be on track for an incredible comeback.

“From jobs to vaccines, President Biden inherited an economy that was moving in the right direction because of Operation Warp Speed and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — which created the best economy in a generation.

“But the policies of the current administration have squandered that progress.

“Bidenomics has made a mess of the economy, transforming what should have been a strong comeback into a serious crisis in less than six months.

“First, Democrats jammed through a $1.9 trillion so-called rescue plan that continued to give taxpayer-funded handouts to people to stay home and do nothing.

“When he signed this spending package into law in March, President Biden promised Americans that ‘help was on the way.’

“But for business owners across the country, help wasn’t on the way, helped wanted signs were.

“Describing his struggle to hire employees, Rod Harl, the CEO of Alene Candles, told his local paper last week: ‘We have had more than 100 positions open since the start of the year, and just recently we increased sign-on bonuses to $1,200 for hourly positions – in-part because we are competing with an entity that can print its own money – the federal government – and its $300 per week additional unemployment benefit.’

“Sadly, this isn’t unique to Mr. Hall. It is the same story I hear from businesses nationwide.

“In a matter of months, we went from the highest job openings on record in March to the biggest jobs report miss in more than two decades. Unemployment actually increased, despite the record number of openings.

“For a brief moment during the pandemic, it made sense to encourage people to stay home.

“But now, in May 2021, it defies logic.

“We should not tax the people who are working to continue to pay people who choose not to.

“Another concern I am hearing from businesses and workers is rising inflation.

“Consumer prices in April saw their largest increase in a single month since 1981, soaring by nearly 1 percent.

“Inflation is a tax on all Americans. 

“Remember, President Biden promised he wouldn’t raise taxes on families making less than $400,000.

“By causing inflation to rise, President Biden has broken that pledge, and we are less than five months into this administration. 

“Now, Americans are paying more at supermarkets, hardware stores, and gas stations.

“In fact, we have a serious gas shortage in a nation that was recently energy independent because Biden’s radical energy policies and inflationary pressure led to a situation where the pipeline hack hit us harder.

“17,000 gas stations nationwide were completely emptied out.

“The average price of a gallon of gas remains above $3, the highest in 7 years.

“In California, that average was $4.12.

“And in Virginia, prices were as high as nearly $7 per gallon.

“Instead of priming the pump, Bidenomics has emptied the tank.

“From inflation to gas lines, the American economy today looks more like it did in 1979 than 2019, when wages were rising, businesses were growing, and unemployment was at record lows.

“None of this is an accident.

“It is the direct result of bad federal policies that distorted incentives and prices.

“Yet President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and other Democrats still want to tax and spend more.

“They decided to propose another $5.2 trillion in new spending, as if there is a bottomless cash pit for politicians to draw on.

“They also decided to propose the largest tax increase in American history, including making the corporate tax rate the highest in the world.

“Higher than France. Higher than Venezuela. Higher than Communist China.

“These proposals reflect a fundamental difference between Republicans — and the new socialist Democrats.

“Republicans believe that there is dignity and value in hard work and risk taking.

“Democrats believe that progress comes by forcing people to be dependent on the government and they want to control the decisions you make.

“When you can work. What car you drive. Whether you wear a mask. What you read on the internet. And what you teach your children.

“Looking at history, I don’t see a single country where Democrats’ socialist ideas worked before.

“And the recent surge of bad economic news in what should be a robust recovery is a warning sign that their ideas aren’t working now.

“The last time inflation was this high — Joe Biden was Vice President. The last time gas prices were this high — Joe Biden was Vice President. 

“We found the common denominator: it’s President Biden’s bad policies. 

“Unfortunately, instead of learning from history, President Biden and Democrats are choosing to repeat it.

“I yield back.”