Rep. Mick Mulvaney Saturday became the second South Carolina Republican tapped to join President-elect Donald Trump’s White House inner circle, with Trump officially naming him as the next director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Mulvaney joins Gov. Nikki Haley, who will be Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, for influential positions in the Trump administration. The office, known as OMB, oversees and enforces federal budgeting issues.
The news of Mulvaney’s pending nomination was first reported by McClatchy on Friday, and the Trump transition team made it official Saturday morning.
The official release on the nomination states that “Mulvaney brings a wealth of experience on economic, budgetary, and fiscal issues to his new role.” The statement calls the congressman “a strong voice in Congress for reining in out-of-control spending, fighting government waste and enacting tax policies that will allow working Americans to thrive.”
The statement quotes the President-elect as saying, “We are going to do great things for the American people with Mick Mulvaney leading the Office of Management and Budget. Right now we are nearly $20 trillion in debt, but Mick is a very high-energy leader with deep convictions for how to responsibly manage our nation’s finances and save our country from drowning in red ink.”
The release quotes Mulvaney as calling the nomination “a great honor.”
“The Trump administration will restore budgetary and fiscal sanity back in Washington after eight years of an out-of-control, tax and spend financial agenda, and will work with Congress to create policies that will be friendly to American workers and businesses,” he is quoted as saying in the statement. “Each day, families across our nation make disciplined choices about how to spend their hard earned money, and the federal government should exercise the same discretion that hardworking Americans do every day.”
South Carolina’s U.S. Republican senators, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, as well as U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson quickly praised the nomination. Scott called Mulvaney “a great choice to lead the OMB.”
Mulvaney, who has represented South Carolina’s 5th District since 2011, won re-election in November after being challenged by Fran Person, a former aide to Vice President Joe Biden. He lives in Indian Land.
Mulvaney attended UNC Chapel Hill’s law school and practiced law in his own firm, then ran a family real estate business, started a small homebuilding company, and then owned and operated his own restaurant.
The director will help Trump prepare his annual proposed budget, which could be crucial to his policy initiatives, such as the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The duties also include ensuring government agencies follow the president’s programs and policies. Trump had reportedly also considered Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn.
The OMB chief, often shorthanded as budget director, and the office administers the federal budget and measures the performance of federal agencies. They help set and enforce policies and practices of the federal government’s purchase of goods and services, called procurement. On a more mundane level, the office also oversees the performance review process for agencies and federal employees.
The job tends to be held by policy wonks, but some do gain fame or notoriety. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan’s budget chief David Stockman was an advocate for what became known as Reaganomics, and remains a public figure decades later. Like Mulvaney, Stockman was a member of Congress before becoming budget director.
Anita Kumar contributed.