South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a staunch fiscal conservative who was elected to Congress as part of the tea party wave, will be nominated as Donald Trump's White House budget chief, the president-elect said Saturday. [...]Mulvaney, 49, who has represented South Carolina's 5th congressional district since 2011, added that the Trump administration would "restore budgetary and fiscal sanity back in Washington."
The Office of Management and Budget is one of those federal agencies with a boring, seemingly anodyne name. The typical American has probably never heard of OMB, and has no interest in its leadership.That's a mistake. OMB is easily the most important agency the country knows very little about, and the fact that Donald Trump has picked a far-right congressman to lead the office is, to put it mildly, unsettling.
Reviewing the Republican congressman's record, "sanity" is not the first word that comes to mind. Mulvaney, for example, is a Tea Partier who helped create the right-wing House Freedom Caucus.When GOP lawmakers shut down the federal government in 2013, it was Mulvaney who helped lead the charge, celebrating the shutdown as "good policy." When Republicans launched their debt-ceiling hostage crisis in 2011, threatening to push the nation into default unless the party's demands were met, Mulvaney not only championed the dangerous scheme, he publicly argued that default wouldn't be a big deal, and undermining the full faith and credit of the United States would carry few consequences.Now he's being promoted -- to a position where he can do even more damage.It's important to remember that leading the federal Office of Management and Budget means more than crunching numbers and looking at balance sheets. NBC News' report added, "As the White House's budget director, Mulvaney would be responsible for reviewing the budgets of federal agencies and making sure they align with the administration's priorities."I realize this may sound dry, but we're talking about an office that has "central authority for the review of Executive Branch regulations," determining whether or not agencies' budgets are in line with Donald Trump's broader goals.As Mother Jones' Kevin Drum noted the other day, "Mulvaney will be the patron saint of 'cost-benefit' analysis of federal regulations -- which, in Republican hands, normally means totting up the costs and ignoring the benefits. In particular, it means that environmental regulations, even those with immense benefits, will be scored into oblivion and never see the light of day."Trump has made a variety of alarming personnel decisions in recent weeks. This one is among the worst.