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 MnuchinSuspect in Khashoggi murder arrested The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules Mnuchin and McConnell discuss debt limit during brief meeting MORE was not breaking with President TrumpDonald TrumpPredictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure A review of President Biden's first year on border policy  Hannity after Jan. 6 texted McEnany 'no more stolen election talk' in five-point plan for Trump MORE on guns during an exchange with Rep. John LewisJohn LewisPredictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks Schumer opted for modest rules reform after pushback from moderates 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.