- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Senate confirmed Rep. Mick Mulvaney to be the new White House budget director Thursday in yet another tight vote, elevating a committed budget hawk to the center of President Trump’s policy-making apparatus.

The South Carolina lawmaker has been outspoken about his support for reeling in entitlement programs that threaten to swallow the federal budget, and has also defended the 2011 budget caps that imposed severe spending limits on both domestic and defense spending.

Those views made him deeply controversial, even within some quarters of the GOP. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, denounced him as a danger to national security, and joined Democrats in voting against him.

Still, Mr. Mulvaney cleared on a 51-49 vote.

His backers said Mr. Mulvaney is the right person to rein in the mass of regulations the Obama administration imposed on the economy.



Mr. Mulvaney will be able to play a crucial role in taming the unchecked growth of the federal government,” said Sen. Mike Enzi, chairman of the Budget Committee.

As the head of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Mr. Mulvaney will not only oversee the annual writing of the president’s budget, but he serves as the nerve center for basic government operations, reviewing every regulation that departments and agencies want to propose.

That makes him the gatekeeper for deciding most of the big questions of how the federal government operates.

Democrats said Mr. Mulvaney was an odd choice for Mr. Trump, saying the congressman’s stances on reining in entitlements clashes with the president’s campaign vows to protect benefits for Social Security and Medicare.

“Not only has he advocated for cutting benefits, he wants to jack up the retirement age for Medicare to 67, and for Social Security, he wants to raise it to 70,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

During his confirmation hearing, Mr. Mulvaney didn’t back down from his stances, but said he’ll only be a voice advocating to Mr. Trump. The president will make the final decisions, Mr. Mulvaney said.

The congressman also ran into trouble when he admitted he had failed to pay payroll taxes on a housekeeper from 2000 to 2004.

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