Budget

More from Mulvaney on what makes for a 'good shutdown'

OMB director Mick Mulvaney

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney

Washington, D.C., is "broken," according to President Donald Trump's budget director, and maybe a government shutdown can help fix it.

Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, is standing by remarks justifying and explaining a presidential tweet calling for a "good shutdown" in September 2017, when the current appropriations bill funding the federal government expires.

"I think the president is frustrated that the process in Washington is broken," Mulvaney said on CBS' May 7 edition of Face the Nation. "What we just did this week was fine and passable, but not ideal," he said, referring to the signing of a bill to fund the federal government through the close of fiscal year 2017. However, Mulvaney cautioned, "the appropriations, the spending process, Congress using the power of the purse, has been broken here in Washington for more than 10 years."

The OMB director admitted to seeing the tweet about a "good shutdown," only two minutes before his own press conference on the 2017 funding bill. But he explained that "a good shutdown will be one that can help fix that [broken system]. It's part of that overall drain-the-swamp mentality about Washington, D.C. This president is willing to think outside of the box and do things differently around here in order to change Washington."

He added, "And if that comes to a shutdown in September, so be it."

The last partial shutdown of the federal government, in October 2013, resulted in the furlough of about 800,000 federal employees, with other workers deemed essential having to wait until the end of the shutdown for paychecks.

"There is no such thing as a 'good shutdown,' Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) told FCW in an email. Connolly, who represents many federal workers and contractors, said, "It was a reckless statement from the president who swore an oath to protect these United States. Tens of millions of Americans rely on the federal government for veterans' benefits, Medicare and Social Security benefits, environmental protection, medical research and border protection. To play politics and threaten a shutdown would disastrous."

Trump himself tweeted about the 2013 shutdown while it was going on.

"My sense is that people are far angrier at the President than they are at Congress re the shutdown—an interesting turn!" Trump wrote at the time.

Mulvaney, meanwhile, credited Trump for avoiding a shutdown in his first appropriations showdown as president.

"Well, face it, no one thought the lights would be on this week," he said. "But they were, so don't ever underestimate the president."

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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