Mulvaney: ‘The Spending System Is Broken’ When Any Group Can Hold The Gov’t Hostage With Shutdowns

‘There’s a group of lawmakers from some of the hurricane states who want to shut— shut the government down until they get what they want’

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JOHN DICKERSON: Yeah. Well, but people would say those procedures helped keep the deficit problem going down. But let me ask you about the shutdown which might be coming. Government’s running out of money. Democrats wouldn’t meet with the President. What’s the status of things?

MICK MULVANEY: Oh, you know, it’s— it’s funny to see now that the Republicans are in charge. I— I think there’s a group of right-wingers in the House who say they want to shut the government down. There’s a group of Democrats who want to shut— shut the government down over DACA. And there’s a group of lawmakers from some of the hurricane states who want to shut— shut the government down until they get what they want. This just sheds light on the fact that the appropriations, the spending system is broken when any little group can sort of hold the government hostage. We need to get beyond that. I think that we will, I don’t think you’ll see a government shutdown.

JOHN DICKERSON: People used to say that about you. You were in one of those little groups when you wanted to— to shut the government down for reasons. You’ve changed your stripes.

MICK MULVANEY: Well, all the more reason the system should be fixed. We don’t spend money properly in Washington, DC. We— we jump these massive bills to massive bills. The government shut down I think, John, seventeen times in twenty years between ‘80 and ‘94 or something like that. So it used to happen.

JOHN DICKERSON: But— but some people would say, “Well, then go back to the tax bill where people basically gave up their fiscal conservatism in order to get a tax bill.” That— that this is always what happens.

MICK MULVANEY: No. No. I mean—

JOHN DICKERSON: You want to fix the system, but—


JOHN DICKERSON: —the instincts are to basically—

MICK MULVANEY: But— but my reputation is as a fiscal hawk. At least I hope that it is. And that’s why I’m so interested in seeing that tax bill passed because these deficits are a function of two things, the amount of money in and the amount of money out. Spending is one of those. Tax revenues is the other. We have to get the tax revenues up. That means we have to get back to a healthy American economy, grow the economy so that you make more money, I make more money, ordinary Americans make more money, and so does the government. That helps lessen the deficit.

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