Sanders, Mulvaney clash heatedly over Trump budget

Greg Nash

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney clashed Thursday over President Trump’s budget proposal, interrupting each other and raising their voices in a Senate Budget Committee hearing.

Sanders kicked off the hearing by charging that the budget’s repeal of the estate tax would give massive breaks to the country’s wealthiest families — including President Trump’s family, which he estimated would save $4 billion, and the Walton family of Walmart fame, which he said would save $52 billion.

Sanders asked Mulvaney to explain why America’s richest family needs a $52 billion tax break, while people who rely on programs such as Meals on Wheels and Medicaid would be left out in the cold under Trump’s budget.

{mosads}He also expressed anger that Republicans were impugning the work of Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall, even though he was appointed by Republicans.

Mulvaney began responding to the remark about Hall when Sanders cut him off.

“Your opinion is that the results are terrible, I’m suggesting that it was a member of the Trump administration who appointed this gentleman,” Sanders aid.

“So we can agree that the CBO puts out bad data —” Mulvaney responded, before Sanders cut him off.

“No, we can’t. We can agree that you guys are beating up on a man you appointed because you don’t like his results,” Sanders said.

“That’s not right,” Mulvaney shot back.

Mulvaney and Sanders went on to spar over where Meals on Wheels funding comes from and whether it would cut in the Trump budget, both increasingly exasperated and talking over each other.

Sanders returned to his central question: his contention that the budget gave a $52 billion tax break to the wealthiest family in the country.

Mulvaney attempted to reply that tax breaks were part of ObamaCare repeal, but Sanders interrupted again, coming back to the question of the $52 billion.

“Ordinary people are paying more,” Mulvaney said.

“No, ordinary people don’t have $128 billion,” Sanders interrupted. “You’re not answering the question. Answer the question!”

“We don’t cut Medicaid. We’re talking about ObamaCare repeal,” Mulvaney said.

“Which throws 23 million people off health insurance,” Sanders retorted.

“We’re talking about a CBO number that I think you just agreed could be wrong,” Mulvaney said.

“I didn’t agree to that at all,” Sanders replied. 

In the end, as Sanders’s time ran out, they were able to agree on one point regarding the estate tax: that everyone will eventually die.

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