Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief

Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief
© Greg Nash
The Senate on Thursday confirmed Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
 
The chamber voted 51-49 to approve Mulvaney. He needed a simple majority to be confirmed.
 
 
The Senate Armed Services Committee chairman on Wednesday stressed that his opposition wasn't personal, but he accused Mulvaney of working to "torpedo" the Senate's efforts to increase defense spending. 
 
"Voting in favor of Congressman Mulvaney’s nomination would be asking Secretary Mattis to spend less time fighting our enemies overseas and more time fighting inside-the-beltway budget battles with an OMB director," McCain said from the Senate floor.
 
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Democrats also blasted Mulvaney ahead of the vote over his position on defense spending, his stances on an entitlement reform and his opposition to a 2013 bill to avoid a government shutdown. 
 
 
"The unwillingness to embrace a bipartisan compromise, even after the Government of the United States shut down, troubles me significantly," he said. 
 
Democrats included Mulvaney on a list of top targets, and his nomination wasn't without controversy. He failed to pay more than $15,000 in state and federal unemployment taxes on a household employee, according to a questionnaire he provided to the Senate Budget Committee.
 
But Democrats don't have the manpower to block any of President Trump's nominees on their own. Under a 2013 decision led by then-Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidGOP’s midterm strategy takes shape Battle of the billionaires drives Nevada contest Senate Democrats should stop playing politics on Kavanaugh MORE (D-Nev.), executive-branch nominees only need a simple majority. 
 
Mulvaney appeared to shore up his nomination on Wednesday after two Republicans who had been undecided — Sens. Susan Colllins (Maine) and Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranMississippi courthouse named for Thad Cochran Todd Young in talks about chairing Senate GOP campaign arm US farming cannot afford to continue to fall behind MORE (Miss.) — announced they would back his nomination. 
 
Collins said Mulvaney told her during a closed-door meeting that being OMB director would be "very different" than representing a conservative House district. 
 
"I thought that was a good answer," she told reporters. "I talked to him about his positions on defense spending, the fact that he has never voted for a budget or debt limit increase."
 
The OMB chief is responsible for administering the federal budget and measuring the performance of federal agencies. Mulvaney would also be tasked with procurement or setting and enforcing federal practices and policies regarding the purchase of goods and services. 
 
GOP leadership quickly rallied around Trump's pick, arguing he would be able to help rein in the government's spending. 
 
Republicans are also hoping that Mulvaney could balance some of Trump's ambitious spending plans, including a massive tax cut and infrastructure spending. 
 
"Mulvaney knows that making government more effective and accountable is conducive to economic growth and he knows that getting our fiscal house in order goes hand in hand with compassion," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work Reforms can stop members of Congress from using their public office for private gain Name change eludes DHS cyber wing, spurring frustration MORE (R-Ky.) said from the Senate floor.