Rep. Maloney recalls ‘eating Chef Boyardee’ as kid during inflation talk, says it’s ‘what families have to do’

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., said during a late-October interview that his family would be “eating Chef Boyardee” when gas prices went up during his childhood, and said “that’s what families have to do” if they find themselves in financial hardship.

“Hudson Valley residents are feeling pain at the pump and at grocery stores, what have you done and what do you plan to do to help solve our inflation problem?,” Maloney was asked.

“Yeah, well, I grew up in a family where, you know, if the gas price went up, the food budget went down,” Rep. Maloney said. “So by this time of the week, we’d be eating Chef Boyardee if that budget wasn’t gonna change. So that’s what families have to do, here’s what we should do,” Maloney said before discussing actions that he says would lower inflation.

“We’re capping seniors’ out-of-pocket costs in the Medicare program. That’s a big deal. So now, only $2000 a year will come out-of-pocket rain or shine,” Maloney said. “That allows seniors to budget. We’re also negotiating, finally, in the Medicare program with the big prescription drug companies to lower the cost of everybody’s prescription drugs. That’s long overdue.”

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Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, feels his party has a “likability problem.”
(Jacquelyn Martin/Pool via Reuters)

Maloney made the comments during an interview with Halston Media Productions, published Oct. 27.

Maloney also said that “we’ve released 90 million barrels from the strategic petroleum reserve, that’s what’s taken about $1.30 off the price of a gallon of gas. That’s a big help.”

“We’ve got to do more to keep that price from going back up and keep it coming down. And there’s other things we can do. We can absolutely bring health insurance premiums down for those on the Affordable Care Act. We’ve done that,” he added. “We can pay for these things, by the way, with a tax on big corporations, so they will finally pay what they owe. We finally did that.”

When discussing energy, Maloney said “we can surge the production of energy, particularly renewable energy, so that there’s more supply, that brings prices down.”

“That’s part of the strategy of the Inflation Reduction Act. And all of these strategies together – together with going after price gouging by the way, because these big oil companies are making a fortune off of Putin’s war and the rest. We’ve got to make sure people aren’t profiting off the war. All of these strategies together can help bring prices down,” Maloney said.

Responding to a request for comment, a spokesperson for Maloney told Fox News Digital that it’s “shameful” for Mike Lawler, his opponent who shared a clip of the remarks on Twitter, to “make light” of the struggles that families are facing.

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Assemblyman Mike Lawler, Republican candidate for the 17th congressional district, speaks at a news conference at the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains Oct. 12, 2022.
(Reuters)

“Unlike Lawler who is profiting off his own campaign and made bank lobbying for big oil companies, Rep. Maloney understands what families are dealing with. In the interview, Rep. Maloney describes his own childhood, with a limited weekly budget for a family of 8, and explains the steps he’s taken to lower costs, like cutting prescription drug costs, surging energy production, and holding companies accountable for price gouging,” the spokesperson explained.

Lawler told Fox News Digital that Maloney’s response shows that he’s out of touch with the struggles of working families.

“Sean Maloney’s solution to tackling inflation is: let them eat Chef Boyardee!,” Lawler said. “It shows just how out of touch he is work [sic] the struggles of seniors, working families, and those in need of assistance. Voters understand the only way to fix it, is to fire the very politicians who have created this mess in the first place, which is why Sean Maloney will lose on Election Day!”

Mia Ehrenberg, Maloney’s communications director, said on Twitter that Lawler’s clip was “horribly out of context” and asked why he opposes the Inflation Reduction Act.

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On Oct. 24, the Cook Political Report moved Maloney’s race from lean Democrat to toss up.