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House Democrats push back on Trump's efforts to take credit for the economy

House Democrats push back on Trump's efforts to take credit for the economy
© Greg Nash

House Democrats on Tuesday sought to push back on efforts by President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE to take credit for positive economic data, as the president is set to make the economy a key part of his reelection message.

During a series of speeches on the House floor, Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Hoyer on Trump election challenges: 'I think this borders on treason' Capitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview MORE (D-Md.) and key committee chairmen argued that Trump inherited a strong economy from former President Obama, and that Trump’s economic policies are problematic.

“I hope all my colleagues will look at the facts that I’ve put forward and see what the Obama economy did and that the last three years have been a continuation of the Obama economy,” Hoyer said. “You just look at the line. It’s almost a straight line up.”

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The 2020 election will enter a new phase next week, when Democrats kick off the process of selecting their presidential nominee with the Iowa caucuses. The following day, Trump is scheduled to give his State of the Union address before Congress.

In that speech and his reelection campaign events, the president is likely to link positive economic data to his 2017 tax-cut law and the administration's deregulatory efforts.

In a speech last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump spoke negatively about the Obama economy and said there has been an economic turnaround under his presidency that’s "nothing short of spectacular."

But House Democrats dispute that Trump deserves credit, saying that the economy was doing well when he took office as a result of Obama’s efforts to pull the country out of the Great Recession. Democrats also said that job gains were larger during the Obama administration.

“Let’s thank the president, but not this president,” said Rep. Don Beyer (Va.), the top Democrat on the Joint Economic Committee. Along with Tuesday’s speeches, the Democratic staff of the committee released a report arguing that the economic gains during the Trump administration are a continuation of gains from the end of the Obama administration.

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House Democrats also criticized Trump over his tax law, which passed with only Republican votes, arguing that it hasn’t provided the long-term economic boost Trump claimed it would and has added significantly to the debt.

“The argument was that we were going to have this unparalleled economic growth because of the Republican tax bill. That has not happened,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOvernight Health Care: Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices | Sturgis rally blamed for COVID-19 spread in Minnesota | Stanford faculty condemn Scott Atlas Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices IRS races to get remaining stimulus checks to low-income households MORE (D-Mass.).

House Budget Committee Chairman John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthThe GOP's debt boogieman is hurting families and derailing our recovery Pelosi, Democrats unveil bills to rein in alleged White House abuses of power GOP, White House struggle to unite behind COVID-19 relief MORE (D-Ky.) said that the Congressional Budget Office issued a report Tuesday that found that “the fiscal outlook has worsened since President Trump took office,” with deficits rising to levels not typically seen unless the U.S. is in a recession or a major world war.

“President Trump did not use our fiscal space to repair the roads and bridges that support our economy,” he said. “To reduce drug prices for working families. Or to bolster our environmental resilience in the face of the defining threat of a generation. No: President Trump and Republicans in Congress ran up our tab with a $1.9 trillion tax cut ... that showered benefits on corporations and the wealthy."