An anti-government ideologue like Mulvaney shouldn't run OMB
© Greg Nash

It's one of the most important government offices in the nation, and President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump Right way and wrong way Five things to know about the elephant trophies controversy MORE's pick to lead it is unqualified and unacceptable.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) coordinates the president's legislative proposals and polices, proposes and implements the federal budget, oversees executive branch departments and agencies as well as federal procurement, manages the regulatory process, implements executive orders, and much more.

Because of its enormous power and reach, OMB should be led by someone who has shown interest in governing, creating robust budgets and funding important programs — all basic duties of the office.

Instead, Trump's pick has dedicated his career to sabotaging our nation's ability to govern.

Trump's nominee to head OMB is Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), a charter member of the radical House Freedom Caucus who rode to power in the 2010 Tea Party wave. An intractable anti-government ideologue, Mulvaney is one of the ringleaders behind years of Washington dysfunction, which is why he has no business directing the agency responsible for keeping our government working.

In 2011, Mulvaney held the full faith and credit of the United States hostage by threatening the American people with national default and economic ruin, even going so far as to publicly deny the potentially cataclysmic economic impacts of failing to raise the debt ceiling.

Two years later, he played a key role in the 2013 government shutdown and debt ceiling hostage crisis, defending both as "good policy" and "good politics."

More recently, Mulvaney helped oust John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerTrump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery One year later, neither party can get past last year's election MORE (R-Ohio) as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. For all his flaws, John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerTrump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery One year later, neither party can get past last year's election MORE at least believed in passing annual federal budgets and appropriating to keep the lights on and government functioning — Congress's most basic responsibility.

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Evidently, Mulvaney does not.

In a demonstration of his seriousness about deep and painful cuts, Mulvaney nearly blocked a $51 billion relief package for the victims of Hurricane Sandy because, like most disaster aid, the bill did not pay for the emergency funds. Even most Republicans considered this unspeakably cruel when faced with the victims' dire needs.

As head of OMB, Mulvaney would be empowered to impose draconian cuts to vital services and programs that keep us safe and prevent catastrophes. He also would be in a position to demolish the federal workforce, block and repeal regulatory protections, and interfere with the work of watchdog agencies just trying to do their jobs.

The Senate will get two bites at the apple when it comes to Mulvaney's confirmation hearings, which are rumored to be scheduled for Jan. 24. Members of the Senate Budget Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee must not waste these opportunities to demand clear and unambiguous answers from Mulvaney.

Does he intend to fully fund the prevention and enforcement work carried out by agencies?

Does he believe agencies have the authority to issue protective regulations when Congress has explicitly authorized them to do so?

And has he recanted on his terrifying view that shutting down government and defaulting on our national financial obligations represents good policy

Mulvaney's anti-government beliefs could have disastrous consequences for American workers, consumers and families, because at OMB, he would be in a position to carry them out.

Lisa Gilbert is director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division.


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