Mulvaney’s Budget Statements Cause Concern, Confusion

Mick Mulvaney
"All i'm saying is, er... umm, basically... yea. OK"

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director, Mick Mulvaney, was recently called to Capitol Hill to give testimony on budgetary matters. Over the course of the grilling, he was asked whether – where he still a legislator – he would have voted for Trump’s budget. His answer was both shocking and confusing.

Although Mulvaney was a strong conservative, and budget hawk while in the House of Representatives, and has a long history of supporting the exact same policies of the sort Trump is trying to enact, he claims he probably would not have voted for Trump’s budget.

Explaining his position to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), he stated he “probably would have found enough shortcomings” in the proposal to vote against the bill. However, OMB later clarified that Mulvany was not referring to President Trump budget, but rather the spending cap deal that was hashed out with the Democrats alongside it about a week ago. The Senate Budget Committee’s hearing was held on Tuesday. The agreement saw spending caps raised by a substantial $300 billion over two years.

Mulvaney stated, “I can give the same answer I gave on Sunday, which is that as a member of Congress representing the 5th District of South Carolina, I probably would have found enough shortcomings in this to vote against it, as did many members of this committee. But I’m the director of the Office of Management and Budget, and my job is to try and fund the president’s priorities, which is exactly what we did.”

The reason why this comment gained immense attention is because it would have been unusual for Mick Mulvaney or any other OMB director to criticize their own administration’s budget deals.

This was further confirmed when OMB was forced to scramble to clarify that Mulvaney referred only to the deal agreed to increase spending caps when he replied to Murray, and not Trump’s budget. Meghan Burris said in a statement, “Just to be clear, Director Mulvaney was referring to the recent caps deal when answering Senator Murray’s question this morning. Naturally, he would vote for the President’s [fiscal 2019] budget that he released yesterday.”

The budget plan advanced by President Trump reflects Mulvaney’s priorities as well as proposals to cut deficits by more than $3 trillion over 10 years.

Murray said, “I was surprised to hear Director Mulvaney being so honest with me about the fact that he was asking us to support a budget he’d never vote for as a Congressman—and then I was disappointed that the White House refused to let this honesty stand and Director Mulvaney was forced to backtrack on his very clear statement to me.”

On the other hand, Republicans praised the honesty of Mulvaney and appreciated the remarks made by the OMB director. The Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) told reporters, “I thought he gave a pretty good explanation for the question, which was one of those tough questions. You’re hired by this president to do a budget for this president with this president’s priorities. And he did, but it wouldn’t necessarily be his priorities.”