Republicans say their party is 'complicit' in runaway federal spending

GOP needs to 'look at their own house' on federal spending, Republican lawmakers say

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Several congressional Republicans say their party is at least partially at fault for runaway federal spending, after massive deficits and new spending under former President Donald Trump. 

"Republicans are complicit," Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., told Fox News Digital when asked if she thinks her party bears responsibility for high spending – an issue Republicans regularly criticize Democrats for. 

"Republicans need to face the music and reclaim the Republican Party as the party of fiscal responsibility," she added. "It's as if we have forgotten who we are as Republicans."

When former President Donald Trump entered office in 2017 – with GOP control of both the House and Senate – the national debt was approximately $20 trillion. When Trump left office it was about $27 trillion. 

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Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., told Fox News Digital that Republicans are "complicit" in runaway federal spending. 

Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., told Fox News Digital that Republicans are "complicit" in runaway federal spending. 

That increase in debt included several trillion in pandemic-related spending. Some congressional Republicans in the last couple of years also joined Democrats on bipartisan spending bills. 

Experts told Fox News Digital that Trump signed into law closer to $580 billion during his first two years in office. And in total, Democrats' biggest agenda items amounted to approximately $3.8 trillion or more in new spending in less than two years under Biden.

But Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, said he saw Republicans spending too much before the pandemic too. 

"Both parties share some blame. I think the lion's share of the damage done to the balance sheet is from big spending socialist Democrats," Arrington said. 

"But look, I came here in [2016] where we had single party rule with Republicans," Arrington added. "Republican president, Republican House and Senate, and we did things like waive provisions to force us to pay for things. We blew through spending caps and restructured higher spending caps to get an omnibus spending package done."

Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, said Republicans were spending too much money even before the pandemic. 

Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, said Republicans were spending too much money even before the pandemic.  (Getty Images)

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Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., meanwhile, argued that judging GOP spending habits by what happened under Trump is unfair due to the pandemic. 

"It's a misrepresentation… to a certain extent about the spending under Trump because so much of that, I'd say the vast majority of that, occurred in 2020 when we really didn't know what we were dealing with, with the pandemic," he said. "So I think that's a bit of a stretch."

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., also said Republicans' pandemic spending should be a caveat on their record – but that there's still room for improvement. 

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., told Fox News Digital that Republicans need "to look at their own house" on government spending. 

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., told Fox News Digital that Republicans need "to look at their own house" on government spending.  ((Photo by Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images))

"Everybody needs to look at their own house and we better clean it up. We can't spend anymore," Tuberville said. "I know President Trump spent a lot of money on COVID. But they spent money on other things. We've got to quit spending money."

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Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., also said "both parties" are at fault, and that "for decades now we've let Washington get away with crazy spending."

Republicans could be faced with a new test of their commitment to limited federal spending in just a few months if they take the majority in the House of Representatives or the Senate.

A majority in just one chamber would allow Republicans – if they stick together – effective veto power over any Democrat-supported legislation that President Biden or congressional Democrats might want to pass.