GOP freshman: Bush without fault for current deficit

Former President George W. Bush isn't to blame for the current budget situation, one freshman Republican lawmaker argued Tuesday.

"It's not George W. Bush's fault," conservative Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) argued during an appearance on a conservative radio news program.

Chaffetz blamed Democrats and insufficiently conservative Republicans in Congress in recent years for having driven up the deficit to record levels this year.

"This 'credit card Congress' has done absolutely nothing under Democratic control to curb spending," he said.

"Look, and I am very critical of the Bush administration, but fundamentally we need to remember that it's Congress that authorizes and spends money, not the president," Chaffetz added. "The reality is that Democrats have been in control -- and believe me, when the Republicans were in control, it was bad then -- but now it's literally four times worse than what it was, with no end in sight."

The first-term congressman's claims take a slightly different tack than the Obama administration, which saw its Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, argue in an interview with the Wall Street Journal posted today that the Bush administration was fundamentally to blame for current deficits.

The previous administration's failure to pay for tax cuts, an expansion in Medicare benefits, and extended military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan largely explain the current budget situation, Geithner asserted.