Democratic 2020 hopeful blasts GOP for 'fiscal hypocrisy'

Democratic Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes The Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report MORE (Colo.), who is mulling a presidential bid, on Sunday slammed Republicans for “fiscal hypocrisy” after they criticized former President Obama for deficits but then passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut under President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE.

Bennet on NBC’s “Meet the Press” took aim at White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump's latest plan to undermine Social Security Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week Dick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report MORE, who was a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus when he served in Congress before joining the Trump administration. 

He said Mulvaney was “one of the people in the Freedom Caucus who tortured President Obama over and over and over again, calling him a Bolshevik and a socialist and all this stuff.”

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The federal deficit dipped to $485 billion, $438 billion and $585 billion during Obama’s final three years in office but has jumped under Trump, due largely to the tax reform package and spending deal the president signed into law when Republicans controlled Congress.

The Congressional Budget Office projects the deficit to hit $897 billion in 2019 and $903 billion in 2020.

“A Republican president, a Republican Senate, a Republican House, the fiscal hypocrisy is unbelievable,” Bennet said. 

He made his comment when asked about the ambitious calls by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKrystal Ball: Elites have chosen Warren as The One; Lauren Claffey: Is AOC wrong about the Electoral College? Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona McConnell rejects Democrats' 'radical movement' to abolish filibuster MORE (D-Mass.) and other liberals to invest more in health care, education, infrastructure and workforce training.

Bennet said “I totally agree with” Warren’s criticism that the benefits of Trump’s tax package go disproportionately to the wealthy but said that public policy leaders need to be realistic about what’s feasible given the country’s fiscal situation.

“The question is — how are we going to make these investments in a way that the solutions will actually endure?” he said.

Bennet raised concerns about "Medicare for all" legislation, which has the support of liberal White House hopefuls such as Warren, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 candidates have the chance to embrace smarter education policies Bernie Sanders Adviser talks criminal justice reform proposal, 'Medicare for All' plan Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona MORE (I-Vt.), Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPoll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona Rising Warren faces uphill climb with black voters Inslee drops out of 2020 presidential race MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOvernight Defense: Two US service members killed in Afghanistan | Trump calls on other nations to take up fight against ISIS | Pentagon scraps billion-dollar missile defense program ABC unveils moderators for third Democratic debate Sanders targets gig economy as part of new labor plan MORE (D-N.J.). 

Bennet said taking private health insurance away from 180 million Americans, as Harris recently proposed during a CNN town hall, “seems like a bad opening offer for me.”

“Remember when President Obama said, ‘If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.' And then a few people in America actually lost their insurance because of the way that the plan worked. Now what the Democrats are saying is, ‘If you like your insurance, we’re going to take it away from you,’ ” he said.

Bennet became an internet sensation last month when he excoriated Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP strategist predicts Biden will win nomination, cites fundraising strength 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters MORE (R-Texas) on the Senate floor for hypocrisy after Cruz, who played a prominent role in provoking a 16-day government shutdown in 2013, chastised Democrats for not doing more to end the most recent partial government shutdown.

“These crocodile tears that the senator from Texas is crying for first responders are too hard for me to take. They’re too hard for me to take because when the senator from Texas shut this government down in 2013 my state was flooded. It was underwater. People were killed. People’s houses were destroyed,” the usually even-tempered Bennet said on the floor, his voice rising to a furious shout.

His unexpected passion quickly grabbed the media’s attention and raised his profile as a possible White House aspirant.

— Updated 12:17 p.m.