WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 24 (UPI) — Rep. Mick Mulvaney signaled he would seek to cut the federal debt and entitlement programs if confirmed as budget manager during confirmation hearings Tuesday.
Mulvaney, R-S.C., developed a reputation in Congress as an eager supporter of deep spending cuts, and in confirmation hearings as President Donald Trump‘s proposed chief of the Office of Management and Budget, differed with Trump on entitlement spending.
“I believe, as a matter of principle, that the debt is a problem that must be addressed sooner, rather than later. I also know that fundamental changes are necessary in the way Washington spends and taxes if we truly want a healthy economy. This must include changing our government’s long-term fiscal path, which is unsustainable,” Mulvaney said in his opening remarks Tuesday before the Senate Budget Committee.
Trump, while on the presidential campaign trail, regularly said Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security entitlements would not be changed. When Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., asked if he would advise Trump to keep those promises, Mulvaney responded “The only thing I know to do is tell the president the truth.”
Mulvaney then said those programs need to be reformed to remain solvent. He added that those individuals currently on Medicaid or Social Security would not be affected by any changes he would recommend, saying, “This is about trying to preserve those programs.”
He said he would support means-testing of Medicare benefits and raising the retirement age.
Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., spoke in favor of Mulvaney’s confirmation, saying Mulvaney “has made it his life’s work to understand what is wrong with our government, and is dedicated to fixing it.”
Mulvaney also addressed his failure to pay $15,583 in back taxes in 2003 and 2004 for a babysitter he and his wife hired when his wife had triplets. He said the back taxes have been paid, as will the penalties when they are calculated, adding the matter came to light two days after Trump nominated him for the OMB position.
“We made a mistake in our family, and we took every step to fix it,” he told the committee.