Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) says that, due to wasteful government spending, inflation is cost Utah families $800 per month (Image courtesy of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee).

WASHINGTON. D.C. – Inflation is costing Utah families $800 a month, according to Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

“Wasteful government spending has stoked an inflation rate that is now costing Utahns a staggering $800 each month,” Lee said, in his role as the ranking member of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee.

“Inflation remains historically high under President Biden,” he added, “and its making life less affordable for families across the nation.”

The bipartisan Joint Economic Committee (JEC) was established by the Employment Act of 1946. Its main purpose is to make a continuing study of matters relating to the U.S. economy. The committee holds hearings, performs research and advises members of Congress.

The committee’s State Inflation Tracker reports that, while the average American family is now spending $635 more for basic needs like groceries and gas, inflation is worst in the states of Colorado, Utah and Minnesota.

Households in Colorado faced increased costs of $825 in May or $9,895 per year.

Here in Utah, the cost of inflationary government spending equates to $9,600 per year.

In Minnesota, the cost of inflation was $747 per month, for an annual total of $8,964.

The primary source of inflation is out-of-control federal spending, according to Lee.

Since President Joe Biden took office in January of 2021, the federal deficit has increased by $3.4 trillion dollars. That includes the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in March of 2021 and the $1.5 trillion Omnibus Spending Act in March of 2022.

But Lee’s counterpart on the JEC, U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), attributes the spiraling inflation to supply chain bottlenecks and the impact of the war in the Ukraine.

“While the U.S. Federal Reserve is best positioned to address short-term inflation,” Beyer said, “Democrats are using every tool at our disposal to ensure households can make ends meet now and build overall economic resilience.”

Lee insists that he has a plan to fight inflation that addresses the harmful policies got us here.

“My bills to prevent runaway federal spending, ease backlogged supply chains and address skyrocketing housing costs are essential steps to help slow the rising burden on American families.”

Lee’s rivals in the upcoming GOP primary – former Utah lawmaker Becky Edwards and businesswoman Ally Isom – are unimpressed.

“You’ve stayed too long in Washington when you forget the people who sent you there,” Isom said during a June 2 debate that Lee skipped. “When people won’t work with you and you can’t get bills passed.”

“Utahns are tired of leaders with no vision and no results,” Edwards emphasized. “Utahns expect and deserve elected officials that do not focus on personal gain, cronyism and (District of Columbia) politics.”

In March and April of this year, Lee introduced three bills intended to curb inflation.

The Price Act (Preventing Runaway Inflation in Consumer Expenditures) requires a three-fifths majority of senators to approve new spending measures when the national inflation rate is at or above 3 percent.

The Ship It Act was introduced to help ease the nation’s supply chain crisis and counter rising inflation by simplifying or suspending certain federal regulations on ports, ships and trucks.

“This bill focuses on streamlining the process to get products off of ships, into trucks and onto shelves,” Lee said.

The Houses Act (Helping Open Underutilized Space to Ensure Shelter) aims at helping local governments address housing supply and affordability issues.

“The federal government owns more than two-thirds of the land in Utah,” Lee explained. “Utah is also among the states with the most competitive housing markets and limited housing supply.

“That constrained supply led home prices in the state to increase by 24.5 percent from 2020 to 2021.”

Realistically, Lee’s bill have no chance of passage in the evenly-divided Senate, much less the Democrat-dominated House, unless Republicans gain control of Congress in the upcoming mid-term election.

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