Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said he has high expectations for the Trump administration despite the challenges of governing at a Capitol Hill event on Wednesday.
“I think at the end of the day, despite the internal difficulties that the House may be having at any particular time, the internal challenges that any White House will have at any particular time, you’ve got a bunch of folks who … want to pull in the same direction and I think that is something to be proud of,” Mulvaney said during an event hosted at the Federalist Society’s fifth annual Executive Branch Review Conference.
Mulvaney, whom President Donald Trump announced in December as his choice to lead the Office of Management and Budget, is a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group in Congress. Mulvaney served in the House from 2011-2017.
Trump’s 2018 budget request is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, but Mulvaney declined to discuss any details of the budget.
Some discredit Trump’s first 100 days, Mulvaney said, because the American Health Care Act did not pass in the House.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., pulled the bill on March 24 when it became clear Republicans did not have enough votes to pass it.
However, Mulvaney said solid progress has been made on other legislation.
“I think we have passed now 14 Congressional Review Act pieces of legislation, and it was previously used once,” Mulvaney said. “And so there’s a legislative victory, or a series of them over the course of the first 100 days.”
The Congressional Review Act allows Congress to repeal executive branch regulations within a certain window of time.
The American public should see Trump’s dedication to regulatory rollbacks, Mulvaney said.
“When you look at that first 100, now 120 days, so much of what we have been able to do is focus on regulatory reform and I think that speaks to what the president wants to do.”
Mulvaney said his agency is keeping a “top 10” list of things they are working to accomplish this year. One item is “identifying lists of reports that OMB is statutorily required to produce”—yet no one has requested to see some of those reports in the last decade, according to Mulvaney, who added that the amount of waste his agency is finding is staggering.
“It’s frightening how long the list is,” Mulvaney said. “You all pay us to generate those reports that nobody cares about.”
While Mulvaney is optimistic about what he will be able to accomplish at his agency, he said the American people must realize everything comes at a cost.
“I don’t know if the country is ready to balance the budget based just upon reducing spending,” Mulvaney said.
The U.S. national debt is currently at $20 trillion.
“I think we have trained people to be immune to the true costs of governing,” Mulvaney said, adding:
People think government is cheaper than it is because we have allowed ourselves to borrow money for this long period of time and not have to worry about paying it back. I have long believed that people are not willing to pay for the government they are getting.