Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Mick Mulvaney said President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget request will show lawmakers “how you can run the government without spending all” available money. He made his comments during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
Congressional leaders agreed last week on a two-year spending bill that boosts federal spending, but a minority of Republicans opposed the measure because they believe it sacrificed fiscal responsibility to obtain increases in defense funding.
Mulvaney said Trump’s proposal, expected to be released Monday, will supersede the budget deal and encourage lawmakers to rein in spending, “move us back toward balance,” and “get us away from trillion-dollar deficits.”
“What we’re doing is saying, ‘Look, you don’t have to spend all of [this] money. These are spending caps. They’re not spending floors. So, you don’t have to spend all that,'” Mulvaney said. “But the truth of the matter is that when we roll out the budget on Monday … you’re going to get a chance to see how we can avoid that future.”
“The budget does bend the trajectory down, it does move us back toward balance. It does get us away from trillion-dollar deficits,” Mulvaney said. “Just because this deal was signed does not mean the future is written in stone. We do have a chance still to change this trajectory, and that’s what the budget will show tomorrow.”
Mulvaney admitted during an interview Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” however, that he believed the congressional spending bill’s allowance for such a huge deficit was “a very dangerous idea,” noting he “probably” would not have voted for the bill if he were still a congressman.
“But keep in mind I’m not Congressman Mick Mulvaney anymore,” he said. “My job as the director of the Office of Management Budget is to try to get the president’s agenda passed. And right now the top priority for this president was getting the Defense Department the money necessary to defend the nation.”
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During an interview on “Face the Nation,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blasted his fellow lawmakers for reaching a deal that increased deficit spending, saying, “Just because Republicans are doing it doesn’t make it any better. I think if you’re for tax cuts and for increasing spending, that’s hypocritical.”
House Freedom Caucus members also expressed their disappointment with the budget deal when they took to the Sunday morning shows to defend their opposition to a bill the president supported. The caucus includes more than 40 of the most conservative House members.
Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) told “Face the Nation” that the deal’s acceptance fails “millions of Americans who feel like Washington, D.C., has forgotten them.”
“But, I can tell you, the real problem with this particular one is that our leadership caved. The swamp won. And the American taxpayer lost,” Meadows said. “I was expecting [Trump] to continue to push back on draining the swamp … yet he was given a binary choice: Either you support the military and support this particular budget or you don’t.”
“I can tell you that that’s not the choice that many of us on Capitol Hill believed was before us,” Meadows added. “But when you look at $300 billion over a 10-year period, you know it makes even a drunken sailor blush. The problem with that is, the drunken sailor actually spent his own money. We’ve got the government spending yours.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) also denounced the deal, saying on “Fox News Sunday” that “the swamp won and the American taxpayer lost.”
When show host Chris Wallace asked Mulvaney if “Congressman Jordan was wrong” in his assessment, Mulvaney replied, “No, he’s not. He’s just not recognizing the realities that we deal with.”
“The reality is that the president wanted to defend the nation,” Mulvaney said. “People think we can do what we want to in Washington because Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House. But the truth of the matter is, because of the 60-vote rule in the Senate, we need Democrat support. And Democrats would not support our increase in defense spending without that dramatic increase in social welfare programs.”
Mulvaney said the president’s budget proposal will show lawmakers “how you should spend” the money “if you’re going to spend it.” He said there’s still room for optimism because Trump will ask for “some reductions” in spending for the Department of State and Environmental Protection Agency, among other goals.
“There’s still going to be the president’s priorities as we seek to spend the money consistently with our priorities.”
“There’s still going to be the president’s priorities as we seek to spend the money consistently with our priorities, not with the priorities that were reflected most by the Democrats in Congress,” Mulvaney said.
“So if we can keep the economy humming and generate more money for you and me and for everybody else, the government takes in more money, and that’s how we hope to be able to keep the debt under control.”