CONTRIBUTED BY SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE
You don’t have to look far to see that inflation is impacting everything, everywhere. Costs of gas, food and housing are shooting up across the country to levels not seen since the early 1980s. Dollars don’t stretch as far, and the quality of life for all of us has decreased.
Summer is usually a time for cookouts by the lake and vacations with family, but skyrocketing costs are forcing Alabamians to think twice about their summer plans. Since President Joe Biden took office in 2021, prices in Alabama have increased more than 10% overall. The price of ground beef alone has gone up by 36% , making the cost of a backyard-grilled hamburger rival that of a restaurant steak meal. But it’s more than just food prices that have soared. Increased costs for materials such as lumber and concrete are forcing families that have saved for years to build their dream homes to rethink their plans.
Americans pinched pennies to get by during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as they experienced layoffs, supply shortages and government-imposed restrictions that forced many small businesses to close their doors. But they can no longer financially survive under these conditions. We need to be proactive in finding solutions that will drive down prices.
One of the ways we can do that is by reining untargeted spending. Wasting taxpayer dollars to fund progressive wish lists won’t drive down consumer prices; it will cripple our economy. Americans have to be cautious about how they spend their money — our government should do the same.
We also must unleash our domestic energy production. High gas prices affect American families and businesses. Farmers use diesel for more than two-thirds of their equipment, and they are struggling to shoulder the burden of increased fuel prices. Restaurants cannot escape increased food and transportation costs, which in turn are being passed along to you, the consumer. America needs to be energy independent, and we have the resources here at home to do it. But Biden continues his reliance to buy oil from foreign sources instead of ramping up our domestic energy exploration and production. He is pushing expensive climate policies that don’t produce enough energy and burden Americans. The average cost for an electric vehicle is $60,054, which is about $15,000 more than the average new vehicle. You can’t have a secure and prosperous country without a strong and reliable energy sector.
The U.S. has an opportunity to strengthen our energy independence by reinvesting in nuclear energy. Nuclear power is our most reliable energy source, providing 20% of our energy supply. Yet, we’ve let our nuclear plants get old and our technology grow stale. That must change. I’m leading the charge to spur the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to explore cleaner, safer forms of nuclear power — specifically a thorium cycle. Invented right here in America, thorium can provide incredible power without the threat of a meltdown. And because it also boasts the capability of recycling nuclear waste, it’s the cleanest power known to humankind. Alabama is the home of two nuclear power plants that supply over 30% of electricity generated in the state, making us the fourth-largest producer of electricity from nuclear power in the country. Unleashing domestic energy production will drive down production and transportation costs — which will benefit the pocketbooks of American consumers.
American families working hard to get ahead should not have to worry about being able to fill up their gas tank or put food on the table because of the Biden administration’s reckless economic policies. Rest assured, I will continue to be a voice for hardworking Alabamians in D.C., introduce common-sense economic legislation and push back against proposals that would add to the inflation crisis facing our country.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.