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Multiple Republicans Tuesday said the massive spending under former President Donald Trump isn’t 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 entered office. But that projection for the same period increased to $13.9 trillion by time he left.
Fox News Digital asked Republican lawmakers and former Trump officials if they thought any of that contributed to inflation. But they said it’s Biden’s fault.
House Budget Committee Ranking Member Jason Smith, R-Mo., speaks with Fox News Digital at the America First Action Conference in Washington, D.C. (Tyler Olson and Haris Alic/Fox News)
“It’s hogwash, inflation was 1.7% in February 2021,” Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, said. “That was the first full month of the Biden administration. In March is when they passed the American Rescue Plan, the $2 trillion bill that was supposed to defeat COVID but less than 9% went toward COVID.”
“President Trump and Vice President Pence’s administration spent money on COVID while COVID was at its height and roiling the country and the world before the Trump-Pence compelled vaccines were available to folks,” former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway added.
Conway also touted the economic benefit of tax cuts instituted under the former president, which Democrats have criticized as inflationary.
Former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway speaks with Fox News Digital at the America First Agenda Summit in Washington, D.C. (Tyler Olson and Haris Alic/Fox News)
The consumer price index rose 9.1% over the past 12 months, squeezing Americans as they pay for everyday goods from gas to groceries. It’s become a major election 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 who blame spending under Trump, Republicans say the real blame for inflation rests on Biden and the White House’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. They say the bill, which extended enhanced unemployment benefits and poured billions into other government programs, flooded the economy with money at a time the nation was facing a supply chain crisis.
“What they created was an artificial labor shortage, because they paid 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 fill the demand from all the money they unleashed.”
Former President Donald Trump significantly increased federal spending while he was in office. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
While most Republicans were quick to blame Biden, some admitted that the culture in Washington made attempts to reign in federal spending difficult.
“We should stop spending money we don’t have,” said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas. “Both parties fully, 100%, own that problem. There is no divide there. Republicans hide behind defense, Democrats hide behind social goodies and social welfare.”
Roy added, however, that Democrats were in no position to criticize anyone on the topic given their push to pass a multi-trillion party-line spending package. He also said Democrats are fully to blame for energy prices, given Democrats’ policies since Biden took office.
“Democrats pushing back and trying to blame it on Trump or Republicans are so full of crap,” he said.