‘They Love Wasting Our Money’: Nikki Haley Torches Fellow Republicans for Adding to the Debt Crisis

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Presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Monday laid out her plan for tackling the border crisis and the nation’s debt during a town-hall event in Dover, N.H.

“I don’t know that our kids are ever going to forgive us for this,” Haley said of the nation’s $31 trillion in debt. “It’s easy to blame Biden for that, but our Republicans did that to us too, and we need to acknowledge that.”

She pointed to the $2.2 trillion Covid stimulus bill that was passed in 2020 “with no accountability.”

“It expanded welfare. We now have 90 million people on Medicaid in this country. We’ve got 42 million people on food stamps,” she told a full house at Dover’s Restoration Church. “And so what did Republicans do? Did they try and stop and correct? No, Republicans in Congress doubled down and for the first time in ten years, they went back to earmarks. Seven thousand earmarks they passed through . . . this past December.”

“Don’t let them ever tell you Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on anything, because they love wasting our money,” she said, before again renewing her call for term limits and competency test for politicians over the age of 75.

If elected, Haley said she would “veto any spending bill that doesn’t take us back to pre-Covid levels.” 

“I balanced a budget in South Carolina. You balance a budget at home.Our businesses, we balance budgets. Why is Congress the only group that’s exempt from doing that? We have to start balancing a budget,” she said. To address the nation’s finances, we must also undertake entitlement reform, she added.

One such reform, she said, would be raising the retirement age for “kids in their 20s,” limiting benefits for the wealthy, changing the cost of living to more closely reflect inflation, and expanding Medicare Advantage programs.

National Review spoke to voters across the political spectrum who turned out to see Haley, most of whom said it was too early to say which candidate they will support in 2024. However, all said that the economy and inflation are among their top concerns.

“I love Nikki Haley. I’ve been following her since she was in government elsewhere, and so I love her, but I want to hear what other people have to say before I make a decision,” said one conservative resident. “But I definitely am impressed with her so far over the years.

Diane Weir, a libertarian, said the Republican field “looks good” and that it has been nice to watch “somebody confident” like Haley.

“She didn’t dodge questions. I appreciated that,” she said. “I also thought the last time I heard [Republican senator] Tim Scott interviewed, he sounded very good. And of course, I’m intrigued by Vivek [Ramaswamy.]”

She cited the economy and the “amount of drugs coming over the border” as her top concerns but said she has reservations about Haley’s “neocon side” and her hawkish positions on Ukraine.

Beth Voce, an independent, said she is interested in the prospect of a female candidate for president “because I’m tired of the good old boys system that is not working for our country.”

“So I’m very excited,” she said. “Nikki Haley has a good reputation and has proven results.”

Elaine Teeters said that she and her husband are still just “feeling things out.” She said she loves Governor Chris Sununu but would “hate to lose him” to the presidency. Her husband, John Teeters, said he voted for Trump in 2016 but he didn’t vote for him in 2020 and won’t vote for him in 2024.

John Teeters said he might trust Vice President Mike Pence to tone down the divisive rhetoric between the parties but added that Pence is a little “far right” for him. He would be interested in supporting a presidential run from former representative Liz Cheney.

Meanwhile, Haley today also unveiled her plan to tackle the border crisis, another top concern for many voters at the event.

“Congress has let us know that they are incapable of figuring anything out, so we have to tell Congress what they need to do,” Haley said, telling the engaged crowd at the church that Congress must pass mandatory E-verify to prevent businesses from hiring illegal immigrants.

She pointed to its successful implementation in South Carolina, where she was governor from 2011 to 2017. “They left South Carolina because they couldn’t get a job,” she said.

She also said the government should hire an additional 25,000 Border Patrol and ICE agents instead of spending money to hire the additional IRS agents called for in the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act.

There should be “no more money going to any illegal immigrants in this country whatsoever,” she said. Other points in her agenda include a return to Trump’s Remain in Mexico plan and the continued use of a Title 42 public-health order that allows for quick expulsions of illegal immigrants.

“I will tell you the one thing that you’re going to see in America when I’m president, we’re going to stop catch and release and we’re going to start catch and deport,” she said.

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