President-elect Donald Trump has turned his attention to another important government position and another outsider to fill it. This time it’s the head of the Office of Management and Budget; and the man for the job, if Trump has his way, is Republican South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney.
The Washington Post characterizes Mulvaney as a “fiscal hawk,” and notes that Trump’s choice in Mulvaney is a signal that the incoming administration intends to focus some attention on the enormous national deficit and reintroduce conservative principles when it comes to spending and entitlements.
In a statement, Trump noted Mulvaney was “high-energy” in his approach to fiscal conservatism:
“We are going to do great things for the American people with Mick Mulvaney leading the Office of Management and Budget. 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.”
Mulvaney, who has has an enduring friendship with the other South Carolinians on the hill – Sen. Tim Scott, and Reps. Trey Gowdy and Jeff Duncan — is known to many as one of the founding members of the House Freedom Caucus. That group is largely seen as responsible for knocking House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) out of power in 2015. He reportedly also enjoys the esteem of current House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
According to The Post, Mulvaney is unafraid to break with his own party if necessary, particularly over military spending and is in favor of a balanced budget amendment.
More from The Post:
He has broken with members of his own party at times, particularly around defense spending issues. Mulvaney has been a fierce critic of the use of a separate war funding stream known as overseas contingency operations, a budgetary maneuver used to skirt spending caps to fund military and anti-terror operations abroad. Mulvaney has allied himself with Democrats at times to try to force defense spending cuts.
Mulvaney is also an advocate of a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.
Trump has already announced his intentions to introduce a massive infrastructure spending bill that includes provisions for increased defense spending. The choice of Mulvaney may ease the minds of other members that whatever that eventual bill looks like, it will be fiscally conservative in its approach.
The New York Times notes that Mulvaney may have some challenges in wresting the budget back under control as Trump has already revealed other picks known to be ideologically at odds with the South Carolina Republican:
The team includes at Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner turned hedge fund manager who has spoken favorably of infrastructure spending that Mr. Mulvaney has opposed; a commerce secretary nominee, Wilbur Ross, known for the billions of dollars he has earned through international investing; and a National Economic Council director, Gary Cohn, who as president of Goldman Sachs has channeled tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Democrats as well as Republicans.
If confirmed, Mulvaney will be responsible for the planned overhaul of the tax code, the promise to boost economic growth to four percent or higher, the slashing of expensive entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security and the $1 trillion is infrastructure spending, according to The Post.
Mulvaney has also recently become fluent in Spanish and is one of “a handful of GOP lawmakers able to appear on Spanish-language television programs to explain and defend Republican policies.”