February 14, 2017

Mick Mulvaney to be Director of OMB


  • On December 17, President-elect Trump announced his intention to nominate Rep. Mick Mulvaney to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.
  • The Senate Budget Committee and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee both approved his nomination on February 2.
  • Rep. Mulvaney has been thoroughly engaged on budget issues during his time in the House of Representatives, including on the growth of mandatory spending and the national debt’s impact on Americans.

Biography

Mick Mulvaney earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduation, Rep. Mulvaney practiced law, ran his family’s real estate business, and started a home building company. In 2006 he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives; in 2008 he was elected to the South Carolina Senate; in 2010 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Senate Action

Under Senate rules, the Budget Committee and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have joint jurisdiction over the OMB nomination. Both committees held confirmation hearings for Rep. Mulvaney on January 24, 2017. Both committees also reported out Rep. Mulvaney’s nomination on February 2; Budget by a 12-11 vote, HSGAC by an 8-7 vote.

Considerations

At his confirmation hearings, Rep. Mulvaney expressed his concern about the national debt, which is now nearly $20 trillion, and that “to an ordinary American family, that translates to a credit card bill of $260,000.”

Many Democratic questions focused on Rep. Mulvaney’s past statements on mandatory spending, specifically that it is driving our debt problem. Compared to 2017, mandatory spending and interest on our debt will increase by a total of $11.6 trillion by 2027. As a share of the economy, mandatory spending and interest costs will increase from 14.4 percent in 2017 to 18.1 percent in 2027. In contrast, discretionary spending will increase by a total of $1.2 trillion when compared to 2017, but will actually decrease as a percentage of the economy – from 6.3 percent of GDP in 2017 to 5.3 percent in 2027.

After being nominated for OMB director, Rep. Mulvaney discovered a mistake he made in 2000 when he and his wife hired someone to help them take care of their triplets. As he said, “In our minds she was a babysitter” and not a household employee, so they did not withhold taxes. After being nominated, he learned that his babysitter was considered a household employee for tax purposes. He and his wife are amending their returns to pay all applicable federal and state taxes, penalties, and interest. Budget Committee Chairman Enzi put this in context: “in 1993 President Clinton nominated Mr. Ron Brown to be the secretary of commerce and Mr. Federico Pena to be the secretary of transportation. Both of these nominees had to pay back taxes on domestic employees and yet both were confirmed. In 2009, President Obama nominated Mr. Timothy Geithner to be the secretary of the treasury, even though Mr. Geithner failed to pay $35,000 in Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes on his own income and was in charge of the IRS after being confirmed – he was confirmed.”

Issue Tags: Economy, Senate