Kelcie Hartley, Daily Herald
U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was the guest speaker at a business breakfast in Spanish Fork Wednesday morning, co-hosted by the Spanish Fork and Payson/Santaquin Area Chambers of Commerce.
According to a Romney staffer, the event was organized to discuss business-related issues, including inflation, the supply chain, wages and unemployment.
In Romney’s opening remarks, he talked about President Joe Biden signing the Inflation Reduction Act into law on Tuesday.
“Not a single Republican in the House or Senate voted for that bill,” Romney said. “Can you think that the Democrats can do whatever they want without the help of the Republicans? Well, the answer is yes and no. Under Senate rules, if there is a bill that deals only with spending and taxes, it can be done with a simple majority vote without the need for a supermajority. … Well, the Democrats have used this little rule twice now.”
Romney discussed parts of the bill that Republicans disagreed with. According to CNN Politics, the bill will cost $750 billion. Romney said Republicans disagreed with the amount of money spent and did not want to add fuel to the “flame of inflation.”
Kelcie Hartley, Daily Herald
“Part of it is that they’re hiring 80,000 new IRS agents. They will double the size of the IRS. Another issue is that they will set the prices of the drugs. You may think that pharmaceuticals are too expensive, and I agree, but there are better ways to deal with the high prices of pharmaceutical companies than to have the government set the prices,” Romney said. “The challenge of this is, if you’re a drug company developing a new drug, you don’t know what the price of the product you create will be. So are you willing to spend the billions of dollars it takes to develop the pharmaceutical if you don’t know what it might be for sell it?”
Romney also called the Inflation Relief Act a misnomer, questioning how “spending more money and taxes” would fight inflation.
“That’s not all, they will give subsidies for the purchase of electric cars. I think electric cars are great. With gas prices the way they are, I wish I had one, but go out and try to buy one. You can not. They are out of stock. There are so many people trying to buy them, and yet the government will pay you to buy one,” Romney said.
During the question-and-answer portion of the event, January Walker, a candidate for Utah’s 4th Congressional District, told Romney she was concerned about the national debt, asking if he would work to find technological solutions. for tracking expenses.
Romney agreed that the ability to track spending should be a higher priority, but wasn’t sure if technology was the answer.
“I don’t know that there’s anything so simple in technology that allows us to do that,” he said. “The Social Security System does it very well. We don’t have a lot of Social Security fraud – we do have some, but not many. Other agencies are not very good at this. I would be happy to see technologies that would test our ability to see where our money is going.”
After addressing Walker’s question, he spoke to the audience about how the nation has accumulated its debt.
“Two thirds are automatic. It happens every year whether we vote for it or not. In one third is the military, the justice department and education are all in one third. The problem is the two thirds we don’t know about. It’s Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security,” Romney said. “That money far exceeds what they put in and grows much faster than the economy. We cannot continue to spend much more than we spend.”
Romney introduced the TRUST Act in April, which is designed to create congressional bailout committees for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Federal Highway programs. According to the bill, committee members would be responsible for, “Recommendations and legislation to improve the program for which it was created, including increasing the duration of positive balances of the federal trust fund established for the program and ensuring the solvency of the Fund federal trust established for the program over a 75-year period.
Thor Mongie, a chiropractor with Balanced Health of Payson, asked what Romney plans to do about the nation’s health care “crisis.”
“I actually have a health care plan that I would like to see adopted by the nation.” Romney responded. “My view is that we will be in a much better environment if we give individuals, as opposed to the government, more say in their health care choices. I would say let’s take the money we’re spending on Obamacare and give it back to the states to create their own systems for what they think is best for their people.”
In 2015, Romney said the health care plan he put in place as governor of Massachusetts was a precursor to the Affordable Care Act. “Without Romneycare, I don’t think we would have Obamacare. So without Tom, many people would not have health insurance,” he said in an obituary for Staples founder Thomas Stemberg.
Jamon Andelin, who represents Compass Insurance Advisors, wanted to know how Romney views the lack of voters who oppose what he believes is the right thing to do and how he reconciles those differences.
“It really depends on the nature of the subject,” Romney said. “In many cases, given the fact that we are a representative democracy, people elect their representatives and then expect them to do what they believe is right, and that’s what I do. I do what I believe is right. Then there are some things where I get things because that’s what our constituents want.”
He went on to say that he tries to apply his best judgment to every decision and “if people say, ‘I didn’t like his judgment on this,’ then you vote for me.”