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OMB says director would back Trump budget after Mulvaney sounds as if he would not

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said Tuesday that Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOn The Money: Deficit hits six-year high of 9 billion | Yellen says Trump attacks threaten Fed | Affordable housing set for spotlight in 2020 race Deficit hits six-year high of 9 billion: Treasury Trump attacks Democrat in Ohio governor's race MORE would vote for President TrumpDonald John TrumpKey takeaways from the Arizona Senate debate Major Hollywood talent firm considering rejecting Saudi investment money: report Mattis says he thought 'nothing at all' about Trump saying he may leave administration MORE's budget after he suggested at a committee hearing earlier in the day that he would not.

 

Mulvaney made the remarks to the Senate Budget Committee after Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers MORE (D-Wash.) asked whether he'd back the Trump budget.

Murray first noted that on Monday Mulvaney had said he would have voted against a two-year budget deal reached last week that added $300 billion in new spending.

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"If you were in Congress would you have voted for this budget that you're presenting?" she asked.

"I'll give the same answer I gave on Sunday," Mulvaney said. "Which is, that as a member of Congress representing the 5th district of South Carolina I probably would have found enough shortcomings in this to vote against it."

"But I'm the director of the Office of Management and Budget," Mulvaney continued. "My job is to try and fund the president's priorities, which is exactly what we did."

"So you would say this is a no, as a member of Congress?" Murray asked.

"Yeah, I think I've said that before," Mulvaney said. "I don't think that reflects on my opinion of it as a member of the administration."

"Okay," Murray said, laughing.

OMB spokesman Meghan Burris said in an email that Mulvaney was referring to the budget caps deal when he answered Murray, not to the budget. 

"Just to be clear, Director Mulvaney was referring to the recent caps deal when answering Senator Murray's question this morning. Naturally, he would vote for the President's FY19 budget that he released yesterday," she said.

Murray had already taken to Twitter to respond to Mulvaney's testimony, saying she found it "honest" and adding that she agreed with his position seemingly against his own administration's budget.

"It was nice to hear an honest answer from OMB Dir. Mulvaney in the budget hearing today. I asked if he would vote for President Trump’s budget if he were in Congress, and he said that he wouldn’t," Murray tweeted. "That’s one thing we agree on!"

On Sunday, Mulvaney told CBS's Face the Nation that, despite his record in Congress as a fiscal hawk, the administration's priority now was to restore funding to the Defense Department.

"Right now, the top priority for this president was getting the Defense Department the money necessary to defend the nation," he said.