CBS, NBC Sunday Shows Grill Mulvaney on Budget Cuts, Why Not Cut Vacations?

On Sunday, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney was doing his due diligence to help sell President Donald Trump’s federal budget by making the rounds on some of the network morning shows. When he appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation and NBC’s Meet the Press, moderators John Dickerson and Chuck Todd peppered the White House official with ridiculous and conflicting questions. “Well, what about the President's vacations? You know, when he goes down to Mar-a-Lago,” Dickerson pressed while openly admitting that it was a “political question.”

Dickerson tried to justify the question by throwing Mulvaney’s own words back in his face:

You said, sort of, one of your guiding principles was: ‘When you start looking at places where we reduce spending, one of the questions we ask was, can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs?’ The answer is ‘no,’

As s candidate, Trump made a lot of President Obama's vacations, now people are bringing that back to the President,” he continued to question, “What does a coal miner or single mom say about these trips down to Florida?” Mulvaney responded by reminding his host that he used to be a congressman and that he remembers who he’s beholden to, “I used to be a member of congress. I used to represent 700,000 people and my first job was to represent their best interests.”

But Dickerson wouldn’t let it go and took his prodding to a rather silly level. “But if you’re thinking about the coal miner and the single mom, doesn’t savings begin at home? I mean, are there things the President can do to cut back on his own, using that test? The coal miner doesn't get to fly down to Mar-a-Lago either,” he demanded to know. The OMB director shot back by explaining why he doesn’t have any business cards, “because at the Office of Management and Budget we have to pay for our own business cards. So it does start at home, but it’s already started.”

Where was this concern for spending on vacations when President Barack Obama was in office? It’s only when someone with any shred of fiscal responsibility takes over do they care, and are eager to paint them as a hypocrite.

Meanwhile, on Meet the Press, Todd tried to have it both ways. First complaining that Trump was making cuts to infrastructure programs. “Some of the cuts seem to be counterproductive to the President's message,” he whined while reading from a list of programs with slashed budgets. But he then complained that the budget still had a deficit, saying: “You said that one of the President’s goals was not to add to the deficit as it is. But this budget will have a deficit. Is that fair to say?

It appeared as though Todd was trying to have his cake and eat it too. It’s surprising how much the liberal media cares about balancing the budget since for the last eight years they could barely be bothered to worry about the nation’s almost $20 Trillion debt.

Before Todd complained about the cuts being made, Mulvaney explained that the budget cuts came from a place of compassion for the taxpayer:

I think for the first time in a long time you have an administration that is looking at the compassion of both sides of the equation. Not just the compassion in terms of where the money goes, but compassion in terms of where the money comes from.

That’s a mentality that has been missing from Washington for a very long time. 

Transcripts below:

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CBS
Face the Nation
March 19, 2017
11:04:58 AM Eastern

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me switch to the budget. You said, sort of, one of your guiding principles was: “When you start looking at places where we reduce spending, one of the questions we ask was, can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer is “no.” That seems like a good sorting technique, but doesn’t it open you to the political question then, “Well, what about the President's vacations? You know, when he goes down to Mar-a-Lago.” As s candidate, Trump made a lot of President Obama's vacations, now people are bringing that back to the President. What does a coal miner or single mom say about these trips down to Florida?

MICK MULVANEY: You could always attack a budget for being political. Right? In fact, we are going to do so. But keep in mind who the President wrote the budget for. He wrote the budget for everybody, we’ve heard a lot of criticism, for example, about different line items in the budget blueprint from members of congress. That is to be expected. I used to be a member of congress. I used to represent 700,000 people and my first job was to represent their best interests. We had special interests at play on the hill, we have lobbyists that play on the hill. The President wrote this budget without consideration for those things, without being beholden to anybody except the people and that's who this budget is written for.

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DICKERSON: But if you’re thinking about the coal miner and the single mom, doesn’t savings begin at home? I mean, are there things the President can do to cut back on his own, using that test? The coal miner doesn't get to fly down to Mar-a-Lago either.

MULVANEY: I don't have a business card to give to you today, John, because at the Office of Management and Budget we have to pay for our own business cards. So it does start at home, but it’s already started.

...

NBC
Meet the Press
March 19, 2017
10:39:27 AM Eastern

MICK MULVANEY: I think for the first time in a long time you have an administration that is looking at the compassion of both sides of the equation. Not just the compassion in terms of where the money goes, but compassion in terms of where the money comes from. Could we as administration, could I as a budget director look at a coal miner in West Virginia and say: “I want you, please, to give me some of your money to the federal government, so that I can give it to the National Endowment for the Arts?” And I just think we finally got to the point in the administration where we couldn't do that. The debt is so significant. You owe $60,000 to the government. So do I in terms of the debt. And the President said: “Look, let's take care of both sides of the equation.”

CHUCK TODD: All right, but let’s go to-- Some of the cuts seem to be counterproductive to the President's message. For instance, on infrastructure you want to do a bunch of spending on infrastructure at some point. But you’re cutting the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, Manufacturing Extension Partnership that provides assistance to small and mid-sized manufacturers to get off the ground to create jobs in these very counties that need jobs created. Why cut the programs and why do it before you’ve even come up with your infrastructure plan?

MULVANEY: Sure. Because when we looked at the infrastructure, what we knew—we know we’re working on a plan to come out later this year. We'll do health reform I think this week, as a matter of fact, in the House. Then tax reform after that. So that moves infrastructure probably to sometime around summer or early fall. So what we did with this budget was go through, find out where we thought infrastructure money was not being spent as efficiently as it possibly could and said: “Okay, let's take it out of the discretionary budget with the intention of putting it back into the infrastructure bill.” And that’s exactly what we did. We think it is a better allocation, better use of Americans’ resources.

TODD: I want to talk though about the issue. You said that one of the President’s goals was not to add to the deficit as it is. But this budget will have a deficit. Is that fair to say?

MULVANEY: Sure. The deficit before we came into office was going to be $488 billion this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. And after we spend all of the additional money on defense, border enforcement, law enforcement, veterans, the deficit will be the same. So what we did is. We plused up the spending. We increased the spending on the President’s priorities without adding to that number.

NBDaily Economy Budget Government Agencies Conspiracy Theories Double Standards Sudden Respect CBS Face the Nation NBC Meet the Press Video John Dickerson Chuck Todd Donald Trump Mick Mulvaney

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