Democratic 2020 hopeful blasts GOP for 'fiscal hypocrisy'

Democratic Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetLicense to discriminate: Religious exemption laws are trampling rights in rural America Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Several 2020 Dems say they're ready to face Fox News town hall 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 TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Trump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking Tripoli Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction MORE.

Bennet on NBC’s “Meet the Press” took aim at White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday Trump ditches one-on-one meetings with vice president: 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 WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Warren spends big on staff in high-stakes 2020 gamble On The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector B boost 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 SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Five former Obama ambassadors back Buttigieg Both sides were wrong about Mueller report, and none of it will likely matter for 2020 MORE (I-Vt.), Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisFive former Obama ambassadors back Buttigieg Harris: Integrity of US justice system 'took a real blow' with Barr's actions Sanders announces first endorsements in South Carolina MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerButtigieg says he wouldn't be opposed to having Phish play at his inauguration Sanders announces first endorsements in South Carolina Buttigieg to fundraise in DC with major Obama, Clinton bundlers next month: report 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 CruzBooker, Harris have missed most Senate votes O'Rourke sweeps through Virginia looking to energize campaign Disney to donate million to rebuild Notre Dame 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.