President-elect Trump selected South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney to be his first budget director Saturday morning, a nomination which would put a staunch fiscal conservative in charge of managing the federal budget and the logistics of government affairs.
From Washington Examiner
“We are going to do great things for the American people with Mick Mulvaney leading the Office of Management and Budget,” Trump said in a statement. “Right now we are nearly $20 trillion in debt, but Mick is a very high-energy leader with deep convictions for how to responsibly manage our nation’s finances and save our country from drowning in red ink. With Mick at the head of OMB, my administration is going to make smart choices about America’s budget, bring new accountability to our federal government, and renew the American taxpayer’s trust in how their money is spent.”
“It is a great honor to be appointed Director of the Office of Management and Budget,” said Mulvaney. “The Trump administration will restore budgetary and fiscal sanity back in Washington after eight years of an out-of-control, tax and spend financial agenda, and will work with Congress to create policies that will be friendly to American workers and businesses. Each day, families across our nation make disciplined choices about how to spend their hard earned money, and the federal government should exercise the same discretion that hardworking Americans do every day.”
Mulvaney, who came to office as part of the 2010 Tea Party wave, has frequently allied himself with the most conservative members of the House and co-founded the House Freedom Caucus that has frequently bucked Republican leadership on spending bills. Mulvaney was one of the conservatives credited with forcing former House Speaker John Boehner to resign in fall 2015, rather than bow to the party’s right flank and likely lead the House into another government shutdown.
As director of the Office of the Management and Budget, replacing Obama appointee Shaun Donovan, Mulvaney would have broad responsibility for government operations — and for avoiding the government shutdowns that the Freedom Caucus countenanced several times.
Mulvaney is a true fiscal conservative who has continued to raise alarm about the long-term trajectory of the debt, even as annual deficits have fallen in recent years. He has criticized the use of special war funds to get around caps on defense spending and in past years has suggested that tax increases might be necessary to stabilize the debt, a stance anathema to many conservatives.
At times, Mulvaney hasn’t been afraid to depart from the most conservative stances espoused by the Freedom Caucus. In 2014, he drew headlines for endorsing the possibility that some illegal immigrants could receive some legal status as part of immigration reform, a concession that other conservatives have criticized as “amnesty,” and did so while hosting a immigration reform town hall in Spanish.
And in a move that could prove portentous under the Trump administration, Mulvaney last year introduced legislation that would allow nationalized mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to be recapitalized and eventually leave the government’s control. The conservative head of the House Financial Services Committee that Mulvaney served on, Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, instead has advanced legislation that would reform the housing finance system and shutter Fannie and Freddie. Yet Mulvaney’s approach may be favored in the Trump administration: Trump’s selection for treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, endorsed re-privatizing the two mortgage businesses in some of his first comments as Trump’s appointment.
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