- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 21, 2018

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday the difference between the 2013 and 2018 federal shutdowns is that President Barack Obama wanted it and President Trump didn’t.

“Compare 2013 and [2018] and how the two presidents have acted,” Mr. Mulvaneysaid on “Fox News Sunday.” “I went through the middle of 2013 — I think I was on your show during that shutdown — and I will look you in the eye and tell you that President Obama wanted that shutdown.”

Why? “He wanted to weaponize it. He wanted to use it politically to hurt Republicans because he thought Republicans would get blamed politically, and he wanted that shutdown,” the budget director said.

On the other hand, said Mr. Mulvaney, “this president has worked really, really hard to prevent the shutdown,” citing his meetings with congressional Democrats and Republicans.

Mr. Mulvaney served in the House during the 2013 shutdown, which saw part of the federal government close from Oct. 1 to Oct. 17 after Republicans balked at funding Obamacare.

This time, Senate Republicans were unable to round up enough votes to stave off a Democratic filibuster after Democrats pushed for a deal first on issues such as a permanent fix for the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“I don’t think anybody can say that this president wants this shutdown. You could not say the same thing about President Obama. In fact, I think he actually did want it,” said Mr. Mulvaney, who heads the Office of Management and Budget.

Indeed, Republicans did take the lion’s share of the blame for the 2013 partial shutdown, but which party will be held responsible for this year’s stalemate is unclear.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Friday, before funding expired at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, showed that 48 percent of those surveyed found Republicans responsible versus 28 percent who blamed Democrats and 18 percent who said both.

Then again, a CNN poll released the same day showed that 56 percent said it was more important to avoid a government shutdown than to extend DACA, while 34 percent said the opposite.

Mr. Mulvaney said the Trump administration would do its best to keep the partial shutdown from affecting most Americans, such as by keeping the national parks open, as opposed to the Obama shutdown, during which he said officials “went out of their way to make it hurt more people and to be more visible.”

About 800,000 federal employees are slated to be furloughed, but “most Americans won’t see a difference,” he said.

“You go to the airport on Monday, the TSA [Transportation Safety Administration] will still be there,” Mr. Mulvaney said. “The military’s still at work. Now they’re not getting paid, and that’s wrong, but in terms of what you will see, it will not be as dramatic as you saw in 2013.”


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