February 03, 2017

Van Hollen Statement in Opposition to Confirmation of Rep. Mick Mulvaney for OMB Director

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen submitted the following statement to the congressional record in opposition to the confirmation of Congressman Mick Mulvaney as Director of the Office of Management and Budget:

"Mr. President, I know Mick Mulvaney. We served together for 6 years in the House of Representatives. I have always found him to be a straight shooter. And he was a champion of budget transparency. I also respect him for taking on some budget fights even when they were not popular with his Republican Leadership. We worked together to ensure honest budgeting when we joined in efforts to prevent the use of Overseas Contingency Operations funding as a slush fund for unlimited Pentagon spending.

"I have deep concerns, however, about many of the positions that Mr. Mulvaney has taken over the years on matters vital to the Nation.

"He has proposed radical measures that would undermine our fundamental safety net. He has said, "We have to end Medicare as we know it." And he criticized Congressman Paul Ryan's already harsh budget because it did not cut important programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid fast enough.

"Mr. Mulvaney has taken too cavalier an attitude toward the threat of default on United States Government obligations. He called the need to raise the debt ceiling a "fabricated crisis." And he has repeatedly introduced legislation to prioritize payment of obligations to bondholders - who are often foreign - over other Government obligations, including those to our veterans - in effect paying China first. At his confirmation hearing, he did not indicate that he has changed his view. The failure of the U.S. government to pay its debts would wreak havoc on the economy.

"Similarly, Mr. Mulvaney has been far too flippant about budgetary confrontations. He was a leader of a group threatening to shut down the Government in order to defund Planned Parenthood, saying, "If we can do that while still funding the rest of the Government, fine. If we cannot, and there is a lapse in appropriations, so be it." And when asked if the 2013 Government shutdown fight over Obamacare was worth it, he said it was.

"Mr. Mulvaney has shown too great a willingness to eliminate Government functions that protect consumers or help create jobs. Speaking of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he said, 'I don't like the fact that CFPB exists.' And he referred to legislation reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank as "a piece of crap." Those were his words.

"At his hearing, he did not appear to have a grasp of the size of the Federal workforce, and that it is smaller than any time during the Reagan Administration. He did not seem to realize that the share of the population employed in the Federal Government is at the lowest point on record, since reliable data first became available shortly before World War II. These are fundamental facts the OMB Director should know.

"Because of these concerns, I will be unable to support Mr. Mulvaney's nomination.

"The Director of the Office of Management and Budget is a key player in setting the Nation's economic policy. The Director of OMB produces the President's budget, enforces funding laws that Congress enacts, and oversees the regulations that protect Americans' health, safety, and environment through the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

"If the Senate confirms Mr. Mulvaney, I will watch with great interest how he reconciles his past positions with his new responsibilities representing the administration and the American people. I hope that he will respect the hardworking Federal employees who serve our nation. In his new position, I do believe that his personal relationships with Members of Congress will prove useful, and I will look for areas where we can work together."