Transition

Trump's OMB pick advances amid concern from Democrats

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) 

Mick Mulvaney's nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget will head to the full Senate.

Two Senate committees cleared President Donald Trump's pick to head the Office of Management and Budget on party-line votes, as Democrats raised concerns about his fitness to serve in that role.

Senators advanced the confirmation of Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to a full Senate vote by an eight to seven margin in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and by a 12 to 11 margin in the Senate Budget Committee.

At HSGAC, Republicans focused on Mulvaney's hawkish budget inclinations, while Democrats raised concerns about his role as a leader of the Tea Party faction in Congress that helped force the government shutdown in 2013 as well as his lack of management experience

Ranking member Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) flatly stated her opposition to the nomination because Mulvaney "has been on the side of brinkmanship, not on the side of consensus."

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) raised concerns about Mulvaney's lack of fluency in management issues. "I'm concerned that he does not seem to have the experience necessary to be the kind of leader on management issues that the OMB director needs to be," Carper said.

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said he is encouraged by Mulvaney's passion for problem solving and support for the government to get more reliable data. But Sen. Margaret Hassan (D-N.H.) brought up that she was "troubled that a nominee who would be tasked with making data-driven decisions... doubled down on his skepticism on climate-science data and doubled down on his preference for awarding funds based on [a] politically motivated and ideological agenda."

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who voted to pass Mulvaney through committee, noted, "I continue to have concerns with his nomination" and did not commit to confirming Mulvaney in the full Senate vote. McCain grilled Mulvaney at his HSGAC confirmation hearing about some House votes to cut the military.

The position of OMB director typically doesn't engender this level of party-line opposition.

Under the Obama administration, Jack Lew was confirmed as OMB director by unanimous consent, Sylvia Matthews Burwell won confirmation to the post on a 96-0 vote and Obama's final OMB chief Shaun Donovan was confirmed on a vote of 75-22. During the George W. Bush presidency, three OMB directors won unanimous confirmation, with only Rep. Jim Nussle (R-Iowa) garnering some nays on a 69-24 vote.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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