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Several Republicans said Tuesday that massive spending under former President Donald Trump is not a major factor in rising inflation, as the GOP attacks President Biden and Democrats on the issue ahead of the midterms.
According to the Manhattan Institute, the projected cumulative federal deficit from 2017 to 2027 was $10 trillion when Trump took office. But that projection for the same period rose to $13.9 trillion when he left.
Fox News Digital asked Republican lawmakers and former Trump officials whether they thought any of that contributed to inflation. But they said it’s Biden’s fault.
“This is bullshit, inflation was 1.7% in February 2021,” said Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., the top Republican on the House Budget Committee. “That was the first full month of the Biden administration. In March, when they passed the US bailout, the $2 trillion bill that was supposed to defeat COVID, but less than 9% went against COVID.”
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“President Trump and Vice President Pence’s administration spent money on COVID while COVID was at its peak and raging in the country and the world before the Trump-Pence forced vaccines were available to people,” added former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.
Conway also touted the economic benefit of tax cuts enacted under the former president, which Democrats have criticized as inflationary.
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The consumer price index rose 9.1 per cent. over the past 12 months that has squeezed Americans as they pay for everyday items from gas to groceries. It has become a major talking point for Republicans, especially after Democrats and the White House spent much of the past year downplaying or dismissing inflation concerns.
And despite some Democrats blaming spending under Trump, Republicans say the real blame for inflation rests with Biden and the White House’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. They say the bill, which extended increased daily allowance and poured billions into other government programs, flooding the economy with money at a time when the nation was facing a supply chain crisis.
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“What they created was an artificial labor shortage because they were paying people to stay home,” said Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla. “So they paid people to stay at home, [those people] still had money to spend, but enough people weren’t working to actually create products to meet the demand from all the money they freed up.”
While most Republicans were quick to blame Biden, some admitted that the culture in Washington made trying to reign in federal spending difficult.
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“We should stop spending money we don’t have,” said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas. “Both parties own that problem fully, 100%. There’s no divide there. Republicans hide behind defense, Democrats hide behind social benefits and welfare.”
However, Roy added that Democrats were in no position to criticize anyone on the issue given their push to pass a multi-trillion party-line spending package. He also said that Democrats are entirely to blame for energy prices given the policies of Democrats since Biden took office.
“Democrats pushing back and trying to blame Trump or Republicans are so full of shit,” he said.