In an interview with CNN, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Democrats are to blame for the ballooning deficit, which is expected to hit $1 trillion when official numbers are released next week, and placed specific blame on spending increases on health and education in exchange for military budget increases as part of a massive spending package President Donald Trump signed in September 2017 to avert a government shutdown.
“People are going to want to say the deficit is because of the tax cuts. That’s not the real story,” he said. “The real story is we made a significant investment in the military which is very, very important, and to get that done we had to increase non-military spending.”
“If we could have approved that with 51 votes instead of 60 votes, we would not have spent as much money on non-military spending and the budget deficit would have been considerably smaller,” he added.
Although Mnuchin declined to comment on details of the coming deficit numbers, he insisted: “We’re on our way on growth, the tax bill will pay for itself and provide additional revenue.”
Mnuchin was perhaps the biggest proponent of the much-criticized GOP tax cuts, which have cost the Treasury Department billions in revenue, and many objected to his version of events.
I think it is Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's tax bill that is to blame for deficits. President Trump co-owns it but isn't smart enough to author any of it. Only has to find where to sign it. You own it.
— Old Coastie (@SemperParatus68) October 12, 2018
This little tactic of blaming Democrats for what Republicans are doing got old a long time ago. https://t.co/1OHHIHU8sx
— Michelle (@Michell82968785) October 11, 2018
@stevenmnuchin1 Certainly you understand that when you juice an already strong economy with huge tax cuts and enormous deficit spending you will get creeping interest rates, Fed tightening, etc. Don't blame this on the Fed. GOP owns this.
— Joel (@jkbedolsky) October 12, 2018
So apparently the deficit is the Dems fault for insisting health care and education were properly funded and not bc of the Trump’s and the @GOPs massive tax breaks for the rich and corporations https://t.co/v4oTT9aKIx
— Tell It Like It Is! (@Jeres_Rant) October 11, 2018
Blaming Democrats for the tax plan is not a new talking point. President Trump himself has often blamed Democrats even though the Republican Party has control of Congress. He once claimed that “the only people” who don’t care for the tax proposal are those who “don’t understand” it and the “Obstructionist Democrats.”
The only people who don’t like the Tax Cut Bill are the people that don’t understand it or the Obstructionist Democrats that know how really good it is and do not want the credit and success to go to the Republicans!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2017
The president’s comment came on the heels of a Quinnipiac University poll which found that 53 percent of U.S. voters disapproved of the Republican tax plan. That poll found that 64 percent of Americans believed that the plan, if passed, would benefit only the nation’s wealthiest citizens, while only 24 percent think the middle class would benefit. Just 5 percent believe the plan would benefit those in the lowest income bracket.