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 MnuchinOn The Money: Supreme Court upholds NY prosecutors' access to Trump's tax returns, rebuffs Congress | Trump complains of 'political prosecution' | Biden rebukes Trump, rolls out jobs plan Mnuchin: Next stimulus bill must cap jobless benefits at 100 percent of previous income Why Trump can't make up his mind on China MORE was not breaking with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' MORE on guns during an exchange with Rep. John LewisJohn LewisCongresswoman accidentally tweets of death of Rep. John Lewis, who's still alive IRS, taxpayers face obstacles ahead of July 15 filing deadline We must move beyond 'the rank of a mere citizen' 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.