Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin broke with the rest of the Trump administration in appearing to voice support for some level of congressional action to confront shooting massacres.
A gunman killed 17 people and injured more than a dozen at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in south Florida Wednesday.
In a House Ways and Means Committee hearing to discuss the White House’s proposed 2019 budget, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) brought up the shooting and asked Mnuchin whether there was “any money in the budget to deal with the proliferation of gun violence?”
“I’m not aware of that level of detail in the budget for me to be the expert to attest on that,” Mnuchin began.
“In light of what happened yesterday,” Lewis interjected.
“I will say, personally, I think the gun violence— It’s a tragedy what we’ve seen yesterday, and I urge Congress to look at these issues,” Mnuchin said.
“Do you propose to do something?” Lewis asked.
“I have vast responsibility as Treasury Secretary, but this is out of my lane of responsibility,” Mnuchin said.
Lewis pressed again, telling the Treasury Secretary “You’re part of this administration” and noting that the Centers for Disease Control, which is headquartered in Lewis’ district, has been prevented for years by Congress from studying gun violence as a public health issue.
“So do you have anything?” Lewis asked.
“I assure you, I appreciate the severity and the tragedy,” Mnuchin said. “And I will speak to the president and the Cabinet members.”