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Trump’s budget director refused to say under congressional questioning whether jobs were created under Obama

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Russell Vought, Trump budget chiefREUTERS/Yuri Gripas

  • Trump’s budget chief Russell Vought refused to say under congressional questioning whether President Barack Obama created any jobs in the US.
  • A New Jersey Democratic congressman sparred with Vought over job growth under Obama.
  • “I can’t tell you based on where it started versus where it ended, but we lost manufacturing jobs,” Vought responded before the lawmaker cut him off and derided his “selective memory.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Trump’s budget chief refused to say under questioning in Congress on Wednesday whether Barack Obama’s eight-year presidency led to any job creation in the US.

Russell Vought — the acting chief of the Office Management and Budget — sparred with Democratic Rep. Albio Sires of New Jersey during a hearing on the White House’s proposed budget.

“Over eight years, did the Obama administration create jobs?” Sires asked.

Vought responded after a brief stumble: “My recollection is that under the Obama administration, we lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs.”

Sires fired back, saying he wasn’t asking about the manufacturing sector and pressed Vought for a clearer answer.

“I can’t tell you based on where it started versus where it ended, but we lost manufacturing jobs,” Vought responded before Sires cut him off and derided the top White House official’s “selective memory.”

“Jobs were created, growth was there by the end of the Obama administration, and I got to put up with this nonsense that we somehow didn’t do anything to save this country,” the long-time New Jersey congressman said.

Under Obama, the economy added a net 11.6 million jobs, according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center, as the nation underwent a decade-long recovery after the Great Recession.

Trump has repeatedly boasted about his handling of the economy, saying its in the best shape its ever been and that he turned it around after it was in “a dismal state” under his predecessor.

But that’s a distortion of Trump’s record as he assumed office during a period of steady growth. Labor Department data shows that the president’s first three years in office saw 1.5 million fewer jobs created compared to Obama’s last three.

The later half of the 1990s also saw faster back-to-back years of economic growth when it averaged about 4 percent. In 2019, the economy grew 2.3% and then 2.9% the year before.

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