- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 2, 2017

Two Senate committees voted Thursday to approve President Trump’s pick for budget director, setting up a floor showdown later this month on the man who will be tasked with doing the government reorganization and budget-cutting Mr. Trump called for in the campaign.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney cleared both the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Budget Committee in party-line votes — but still could still face trouble in the floor vote from Republicans who want to see a massive defense spending increase, and see Mr. Mulvaney as an obstacle.

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, voted to back the nominee Thursday, but said he has “concerns.” Last week Mr. McCain lectured Mr. Mulvaney over defense spending at a public hearing.

Democrats, meanwhile, said they fear the kinds of domestic spending cuts Mr. Mulvaney would push as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Sen. Bernard Sanders, the Vermont independent who serves as Democrats’ ranking member on the Budget Committee, said that Mr. Mulvaney was an “honest” man — and said that honesty is part of what got him into trouble. During his confirmation hearing, Mr. Mulvaney acknowledged his votes for, and support for, changes to Social Security and other entitlement programs, saying they will go bankrupt unless the terms are altered.

Mr. Sanders, though, said Mr. Trump promised not to touch Social Security benefits.

“We have a nominee whose ideology is in direct contrast to what President Trump ran on,” he said.

Most Republicans, though, said they wanted someone who was clear-eyed on the challenges facing the budget.

“He’s a proven budget hawk,” said Sen. Mike Enzi, the Budget chairman.

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