Rep. Hern to Newsmax: Biden, Dems Ignore Push on Unemployment Fraud Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Thursday, 07 July 2022 09:20 AM EDT
A bill introduced by Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee to track criminal fraud in connection with unemployment insurance during the pandemic is being ignored by the Biden administration and Democrats because it will hinder their calls to spend billions of dollars more, Rep. Kevin Hern, a member of the committee, told Newsmax on Thursday.
"[Chuck] Schumer and Nancy [Pelosi] have come together to figure out how to raise taxes, about a trillion dollars in taxes, to spend more money, which is problematic for our inflation," the Oklahoma Republican said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "[They] have gotten it wrong for over a year. That spending is what created this inflation that we're seeing right now. I would tell you that about 88% of Americans agree with that notion because that's what they're seeing right now."
In June, GOP members of the House Ways and Means Committee introduced the Chase COVID Unemployment Fraud Act of 2022, to "jump-start efforts to claw back federal funds and pursue recovery of fraudulent payments by ensuring aggressive identification, investigation, and prosecution of criminal fraud in pandemic unemployment programs."
In the bill, they cite Labor Department figures showing that at least $163 billion of the $873 billion that was spent on unemployment insurance had been spent in error, with "a significant portion attributable to fraud," and that only about $4 billion of that has been recovered so far, reports The Wall Street Journal's editorial board.
Hern told Newsmax that the push to uncover the fraudulent spending comes as the nation's economy is in trouble under President Joe Biden after it had been thriving before the pandemic under then-President Donald Trump.
"We saw what this country can look like when you unleash the ability to create jobs and to put Americans to work," said Hern. "We saw right before the pandemic the lowest unemployment, real unemployment, that we have seen in some 50 years and for across some diversity groups for forever. We saw real wages growing at the lowest end, some 20% a year because of competition for labor. Now the government is trying to keep people from working."
The United States was also pushing back on China with the phase one deal that Trump negotiated, but now, the Biden administration wants to remove the tariffs Trump put in place, Hern said.
"We also saw where we're energy dominant, which is really at the heart of the matter," said Hern, adding that when Biden took office in January 2021, "he signaled to the rest of the world that the United States is going to be dependent on foreign opportunities such as oil and gas."
Biden also is "allowing an invasion" to come across the nation's southern border, "which is just completely insane policy," said Hern.
Hern also called Biden's energy and economic strategy "frustrating."
"This is somebody who's the leader of the free world, or supposedly the leader of the free world," said Hern. "He signaled on day one, he signaled during his campaign that he was going to destroy fossil fuels, which was the hub of our global dominance."
And instead of visiting states like Texas, Oklahoma, and others that are rich with oil deposits, Biden is traveling to Saudi Arabia to ask for increased production, when "so much could be solved if we were just able to drill here," Hern said.