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Trump’s pick for budget office is hard-liner on spending

WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump said Saturday that he would nominate Representative Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina to be his budget director.

Mulvaney is a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, the group that led the takedown of John Boehner as speaker

“He’s a tremendous talent, especially when it comes to numbers and budgets,” Trump said in a statement.

In Mulvaney, Trump has chosen for the Office of Management and Budget a spending hard-liner to join an economic team that could be ideologically in conflict, setting up possible collisions during major policymaking next year.

The team includes at Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner turned hedge fund manager who has spoken favorably of infrastructure spending; and a commerce secretary nominee, Wilbur Ross, known for the billions of dollars he has earned through international investing.


It also includes a National Economic Council director, Gary Cohn, who as president of Goldman Sachs has channeled tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Democrats as well as Republicans.

Mulvaney, 49, who did not respond to e-mails seeking comment, has cut an influential swath among House conservatives since he was elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, when he defeated a Representative, John Spratt, a Democrat.

He won by characterizing his opponent as a big-spending liberal, unconcerned about fiscal prudence.

Since then, Mulvaney has perpetually rejected short-term spending agreements and questioned the government’s need to increase its statutory borrowing limits to avoid default. He has opposed some of his own party’s budget proposals.

By 2013, at the start of his second term, he declined to support Boehner’s reelection as speaker, abstaining from the vote in protest.

At the same time, unlike some members of the caucus, Mulvaney has also supported Paul Ryan and has served as a quiet back channel between Ryan and conservative members.


As budget director, Mulvaney would help guide a repeal of the Affordable Care Act — a promise of the president-elect — a tax overhaul and, potentially, a huge federal investment in the nation’s infrastructure, which he does not support.