Sen. Pat Roberts shared some constructive criticism with Sen. Ron Wyden during Thursday hearings of the Senate Committee on Finance regarding Steven Mnuchin — nominee for Secretary of the Treasury — according to the Washington Examiner.
Roberts took his time during his 10 minute question period in the second round, before reaching into his pocket, and turning to Wyden to bait Senate Democrats.
“Sen. Wyden, I’ve got a Valium pill here you might want to take … just a suggestion, sir,” Roberts said during his remarks.
Wyden attacked Mnuchin, accusing him of using loopholes in tax law to shelter millions of dollars in profit from federal taxes.
“Just another suggestion, we’ve got a number of colleagues waiting. If you could be brief, it would be helpful,” Wyden shot back.
Progressive Democrat Sherrod Brown quickly interjected as well, expressing outrage at the statement, and what it could mean for politics in 2017. “I just can’t quite believe he would say that to a distinguished senator from Oregon,” Brown complained.
“I said that to the president of the United States at one point,” Roberts quickly retorted, referencing a time in 2011 when he said the same thing to President Barack Obama. Roberts then explained that he was trying to “inject a little pinprick of humor into the proceedings.”
Wyden expressed concern over Mnuchin from the day President-elect Donald Trump announced his appointment in November.
“Given Mr. Mnuchin’s history of profiting off the victims of predatory lending, I look forward to asking him how his Treasury Department would work for Americans who are still waiting for the economic recovery to show up in their communities,” Wyden said in an official statement at the time. “Given Mr. Mnuchin’s history of profiting off the victims of predatory lending, I look forward to asking him how his Treasury Department would work for Americans who are still waiting for the economic recovery to show up in their communities.”
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