GOP congressman claims Trump's record deficit is somehow Pelosi's fault


The eight months she's been speaker, she's faced a GOP Senate and White House.

The national debt and the current budget deficit have both climbed to all-time highs under Donald Trump. But this week, Republicans are suggesting that the real blame for this should fall on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who was elected to that position just eight months ago.

Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) made the argument on Tuesday on Twitter. "Since Speaker Pelosi took control," he argued, the deficit is "20% higher." He warned that "our grandkids" will "have to pay" for the government's fiscal irresponsibility.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made a similar argument in a Fox News interview on Monday. Asked about Trump's deficits, the California Republican responded, "If you watch what the Republicans were able to do and what they have control over in the eight years they were in the majority, with discretionary they spent less than when Nancy Pelosi was Speaker the time before."

After running on a platform of balancing the budget and prioritizing "thrift over extravagance," the Republicans did neither in 2017 and 2018, the two years they controlled all three branches of government.

The most significant legislative accomplishment over that time was the passage of Trump's massive tax cuts, which benefited mostly very rich and big corporations. Both Smith and McCarthy voted for the bill and even attempted to make the cuts permanent. Despite the administration's claims that these tax cuts would magically pay for themselves by spurring massive economic growth, even the bill's author, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), admitted recently that that was basically a lie.

Instead, even as Trump has touted the greatest economy ever, revenue has dropped, fueling larger deficits than at any time in American history. Rather than cut extravagant spending programs — like the billions of dollars Trump wants to spend on a border wall — spending has actually increased.

The notion that Pelosi is the one to blame for this suggests that Smith does not understand economics or basic civics. The fiscal situation for 2019 is mostly the result of the policies passed by the people in power in 2018 and before — when Pelosi and the Democrats were in the minority.

Since Pelosi became speaker in January, Republicans have controlled the Senate and the White House for every single hour, making it impossible for House Democrats to do anything without bipartisan agreement.

Smith's campaign website brands him as the "new generation conservative" who "knows the hard work it takes each and every day to make ends meet."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.