OMB Confirmation Hearings (Jan. 24)

Fiscal Policy • Mulvaney in the Money

In about an hour, Cong. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, the new administration’s nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), will face Senate Budget and the Senate Homeland Security and Government Operations Committee this afternoon in a doubleheader of confirmation hearings.
The hearings today could expose the tension between Trump’s expected tax cuts-and-expenditures policy and the fiscal rectitude rhetoric of the Tea Party.  But more attention may be paid to the nominee’s legal issue.  The confirmation process so far has been hamstrung by the nominees’ unusually high number of financial and ethical complications.  Today, Mulvaney in the money seat.
Donald Trump’s pick to direct the Office of Management and Budget is known as a fiscal hawk. South Carolina Congressman Mick Mulvaney has had a long record leading House GOP charges to cut federal spending and reduce the national debt. He drafted the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, which Republicans used as a rote rejoinder to any increase in the debt ceiling proposed by the Obama administration.
The Record
A few things to know about Mulvaney before the hearings:
•  Tea Party —  He was elected with the Tea Party wave and was an early supporter of the movement.
•   Freedom Caucus —  Muvaney was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus.
•  Entitlement Reform — He has led efforts to reform Medicare and Social Security.  In April 2011, he criticized then-House Budget Chair Paul Ryan’s budget for not going far enough to overhaul Medicare and called for raising the Social Security retirement age from 67 to 70.
•  Contra-Boehner — He tried to get John Boehner to step down as House Speaker because he was “not fiscally conservative enough.”
•  Shutdowns — In 2011 and in 2013, Mulvaney voted in favor of a government shutdown, reinforcing his hardline stances on fiscal issues.  He said he’d rather the government shutdown than raise the debt ceiling.
Ethical Sticking Point
Despite owing more than $15,000 in unpaid taxes, on four separate occasions, Mulvaney supported legislation that barred government employees (including public servants) from working if they had any outstanding, unpaid taxes.
GOP Policy Conflict
Mulvaney is running at odds with Donald Trump, as he supports a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. Trump’s campaign promises and his released plans involve massive tax cuts and massive amounts of federal spending, which would not by any means result in a balanced budget.  Mulvaney has discussed reforming medicare and medicaid, while Trump has pledged not to cut the programs.
The congressman is so uncompromising when it comes to legislation that he fought for cuts which, had they passed, would have blocked $51 billion in relief aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. His reason behind voting against the relief package was rooted in the fact that the bill did not pay for the emergency funds.
Public Interest Community Reax
•  Coalition on Human Needs — Mulvaney is “an extremist who has voted against allowing the federal government to pay its bills… has been repeatedly reckless in his willingness to halt payments for medical care, food aid, military and civilian pay, … willing to create a crisis by refusing to extend our nation’s authority to borrow… His interest is in slashing, not managing, and he is the last person who should be directing OMB.”
•   Public Citizen’s Congress Watch —  “Trump’s pick has routinely sabotaged our nation’s ability to govern and trumpeted views that are wildly at odds with the preferences of voters in both parties.”
Forecast calls for fiscal fireworks.

2 thoughts on “OMB Confirmation Hearings (Jan. 24)”

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