Treasury says Mnuchin wasn't calling for Congress to examine gun issues

Treasury says Mnuchin wasn't calling for Congress to examine gun issues
© Keren Carrion

The Treasury Department said Thursday that Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHow China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Trump faces new hit on deficit MORE was not breaking with President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE on guns during an exchange with Rep. John LewisJohn LewisGraham: Every Republican president or nominee 'will be accused of being a racist' History in the House: Congress weathers unprecedented week John Lewis rips Trump attacks on minority lawmakers in scathing speech: 'I know racism when I feel it' MORE (D-Ga.) at a hearing earlier in the day.

“Secretary Mnuchin was directly addressing Congressman Lewis’ question about availability of funds in the budget to address the issue of gun violence," said Treasury spokesman Tony Sayegh. "He also reflected the feelings shared by all Americans that yesterday’s school shooting was a profound tragedy.”

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At the hearing, after Lewis asked Mnuchin about the budget and gun violence, Mnuchin said, "Personally I think the gun violence — It's a tragedy, what we've seen yesterday, and I urge Congress to look at these issues."

The comments garnered attention because Trump has touted gun owners' rights in the past and did not mention gun control legislation in his remarks Thursday about the shooting that occurred at a South Florida high school the day before.

In the exchange with Lewis, Mnuchin said he has "vast responsibilities as Treasury secretary but this is out of my lane of responsibility." 

Lewis said that the government "must do better" to address gun violence.
 
"We have to save our children, our citizens, our teachers," the congressman said.
 
Mnuchin told Lewis, "I appreciate the severity and the tragedy and I will speak to the president and the other Cabinet members."
 
Seventeen people on Wednesday were killed in the Florida shooting.
 
Authorities later identified the suspected shooter as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz.
 
This story was updated at 2:25 p.m. to reflect the Treasury Department's statement.