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Bait and Switch

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Adrian Smith

One year ago this week, I attended the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris. While I was deeply disappointed in the election process and its outcome, President Biden campaigned as a centrist who wanted to unite our country, defeat COVID, and improve America’s standing in the world. When he took office, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Instead, President Biden and his administration immediately began implementing a left-wing agenda out of touch with suffering Americans. In my subsequent weekly column, I criticized President Biden for signing a series of executive orders which undermined the rule of law, made life more difficult for American families, and trivialized China’s malfeasance. Unfortunately, the decisions began a pattern which continues today.

On his first day in office, President Biden signed executive orders terminating the declared state of emergency at our southern border, redirecting funds away from border wall construction, and reinforcing amnesty programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. These actions made clear his administration had no interest in enforcing our immigration laws or securing our borders. Every month since, Customs and Border Patrol has seen record encounters with people attempting to illegally enter our country at the southern border. The Biden Department of Justice even floated six-figure payments to some illegal immigrants who were detained after crossing the border. In addition to cosponsoring legislation which would block these payouts, I have endorsed legislation to reinstate the Trump Administration’s “Remain in Mexico policy,” and provide additional technology and personnel necessary to protect our borders.

Another day-one executive order by the President revoked federal approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, withdrew a portion of Alaska the size of South Carolina from consideration for oil and gas extraction, and shut down federal oil and gas production lease sales. Not only did these actions contradict laws enacted by congress and signed by previous presidents, they contributed to rising fuel prices at a time when American schools and businesses were reopening, and families were getting back on the road. Inflation and supply issues are now rampant in many sectors, thanks to a massive and unnecessary spending bill President Biden signed into law last year. Subsequently, the average price of a gallon of gas went from $2.25 at the start of 2021, to $3.32 now, a spike which is particularly acute for families in rural Nebraska where alternatives like electric vehicles and public transportation are not viable.

Furthermore, President Biden acted on his first day to resume U.S. funding for the World Health Organization, which President Trump had suspended because the group assisted China in covering up the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. This began a pattern of capitulation on the world stage: failure to hold China accountable on trade, restarting talks with Iran as they continue their nuclear program, kowtowing to Vladimir Putin on Ukraine, and most notably allowing the fall of Kabul amidst disastrous withdrawal of U.S. troops. Boldly confronting these failures must be a top priority. The independent commission investigating the Afghanistan withdrawal, which I supported as part of this year’s defense authorization bill is a step in the right direction. I have also cosponsored multiple bills which condemn the actions of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the government of Iran.

Worst of all, this executive disorder does not include the problems the President has caused through his hapless and extreme legislative agenda, which I have spent the past year working to overcome. Despite the defeat of unpopular tax proposals like the misguided repeal of stepped-up basis, Senate Democrats continue to promote President Biden’s bloated social spending programs which will only make our nation’s workforce and inflation problems worse. American families need leadership and economic opportunity, not another package of laws which would obstruct energy access, drive inflation, and make their lives more expensive

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