The Slatest

Watch Chris Wallace Challenge Sen. Blunt: Haven’t Republicans Lost “Credibility” on Debt?

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) asks questions during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs & Senate Rules and Administration joint hearing to discuss the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on March 3, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) asks questions during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs & Senate Rules and Administration joint hearing to discuss the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on March 3, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Pool/Getty Images

Fox host Chris Wallace called out Republican Sen. Roy Blunt Sunday on the sudden interest that GOP lawmakers seem to have developed over the national debt considering they didn’t much care bout the issue when Donald Trump was president. While interviewing the senator from Missouri for Fox News Sunday, Wallace noted that lots of Republicans are complaining about the price tag of the national infrastructure plan that the White House is pushing and how it will “explode” the national debt and deficits.

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Wallace then proceeded to put some graphics on air that showed how much debt increased during Trump’s administration. “During the Trump presidency, even before the pandemic, the national debt increased by more than $3 trillion and in 2017, every Republican in the Senate, including you, voted for the big Trump tax cuts, which cut revenue by almost one and a half trillion dollars,” Wallace said. “So I guess the question is, when I hear for instance Mitch McConnell talking about debt and deficits, hasn’t the Republican Party—haven’t you lost your credibility on this issue?”

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Blunt responded by essentially saying that no one had much credibility on the issue. “I don’t think anybody has a very good record for the last decade on this,” Blunt said. “I think the deficit under the Obama years and the Trump years are very similar.” The senator went on to say that Congress passed “not one … but five” bills regarding the pandemic and he complained about the lack of bipartisanship in recent legislation pushed by the White House. “Now we’ve seen one incredibly partisan bill from the new administration followed by what appears to be will be another incredibly partisan bill,” he said. “You can’t spread that blame around if you decide you’re going to do it all by yourself.” That caused Wallace to laugh—“Yes, I suppose that’s true”—before making clear that the figures he used to detail how much the debt and deficit increased during the Trump years were from before the pandemic.

Blunt also said that the White House could score “an easy win” on infrastructure if the administration simply pared down its ambitions. “I think there’s an easy win here for the White House if they would take that win, which is make this an infrastructure package, which is about 30 percent, even if you stretch the definition of infrastructure some, it’s about 30 percent of the $2.25 trillion we are talking about spending,” he said.

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