By Julie Vogtman, National Women’s Law Center
Hearings on President-Elect Trump’s cabinet nominees are in full swing, and here at NWLC we don’t have a lot of nice things to say about his picks like Jeff Sessions (Attorney General), Betsy DeVos (Secretary of Education), Tom Price (Secretary of Health & Human Services), and Andy Puzder (Secretary of Labor)—all nominees who are historically unfit to lead their respective agencies.
In keeping with the general theme of “let’s choose the guy who least understands and/or most wants to undermine the mission of the agency he will lead,” Trump has nominated Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) to head up the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the office responsible for overseeing the development and execution of agency budgets and policies across the federal government. Rep. Mulvaney is perhaps best known for vowing to oppose any increase to the debt ceiling, claiming “I have yet to meet someone who can articulate the negative consequences.” In other words, he is willing to ignore the expert consensus that allowing the U.S. to default on its debts would, in fact, strike a tremendous blow to the economy and wreak havoc on all of the agency budgets he may soon be charged with managing—and would, in turn, harm all Americans.
But it’s not just his position on the debt ceiling that is extreme (and extremely damaging); Rep. Mulvaney advocates for a slew of policies that would especially harm women, children, and other vulnerable groups—and it could soon be his job to shape the federal budget to reflect those views. He has also failed to pay his own fair share of taxes: he did not pay $15,000 in payroll taxes for a household employee. In the past, failure to pay taxes has derailed Cabinet nominations, because it is illegal, shows a lack of attention to detail, and can show a disregard for the needs of the American government.
Here are five more things you should know about Rep. Mulvaney before his confirmation hearing tomorrow:
- Rep. Mulvaney thinks shutting down the government is “good policy.” Elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, Rep. Mulvaney is a founding member of the far-right “Freedom Caucus”—also known as the “Shutdown Caucus” because of its willingness to shut down the government rather than raise the debt ceiling. He called the 2013 government shutdown—which wasted millions of government dollars and hurt low-income families—“good policy” and voted against the deal that finally ended it. (Is it just me, or is someone who is okay with shutting down the entire government maybe not the best guy to run an agency that is completely integral to the functioning of the entire government?)
- Mulvaney wants to “reform” (read: cut) crucial entitlements like Medicare and Social Security, along with just about every other program that people in need depend on. He has called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” and claimed that “Medicare as it exists today is finished.” The “Cut, Cap, and Balance” budget plan that he co-authored would require devastating cuts to these programs as well as to many others that are especially important for low-income women and their families, including Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), and child care assistance. In another extreme budget bill, Rep. Mulvaney proposed more specific cuts that would, for example, cause about 280,000 low-income children to lose access to free meals at school and make millions of low- and moderate-income immigrant working families completely ineligible for the Child Tax Credit (costing them about $1,800 on average).
- Rep. Mulvaney’s budget axe would spare the wealthiest Americans and corporations. The same “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan that requires slashing vital programs to bring the federal budget into balance also requires a two-thirds vote in both Houses to raise taxes at all, and provides that savings from closing tax loopholes cannot be used to mitigate scheduled spending cuts.
- If you still aren’t convinced that Rep. Mulvaney isn’t an advocate for women and families, know that he voted against the Violence Against Women Act and co-sponsored bills that would defund Planned Parenthood, outlaw abortion after 20 weeks, and prohibit federal funds from being used to purchase an insurance plan that covers abortion. He even voted against a bill that increased the number of diaper-changing stations in men’s restrooms in federal public buildings.
- And in case you were wondering, he’s no friend to LGTBQ folks, either. As a member of the South Carolina state legislature, Rep. Mulvaney co-sponsored legislation to define marriage as between one man and one woman, and in the U.S. House, he has co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, which would undermine anti-discrimination protections for same-sex married couples.