Texas ObamaCare Blunder

A judge’s ruling will be overturned and could backfire on Republicans.

By The Editorial Board
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

No one opposes ObamaCare more than we do, and Democrats are now confirming that it was designed as a way-station to government-run health care. But a federal judge’s ruling Friday that the law is unconstitutional is likely to be overturned on appeal and may boomerang politically on Republicans.

Judge Reed O’Connor ruled for some 20 state plaintiffs that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is no longer legal because Republicans repealed its financial penalty as part of the 2017 tax reform. Recall that Chief Justice John Roberts joined four Justices to say ObamaCare’s mandate was illegal as a command to individuals to buy insurance under the Commerce Clause. “The Framers gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it,” he wrote.

Yet the Chief famously salvaged ObamaCare by unilaterally rewriting the mandate to be a “tax” that was within Congress’s power. Never mind that Democrats had expressly said the penalty was not a tax. Majority Leader Roberts declared it to be so.

Enter Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who argues in Texas v. U.S. that since Congress has repealed the mandate, the tax is no longer a tax, and ObamaCare is thus illegal. Judge O’Connor agreed with that logic, and he went further in ruling that since Congress said the mandate is crucial to the structure of ObamaCare, then all of ObamaCare must fall along with the mandate.

We’ll admit to a certain satisfaction in seeing the Chief Justice hoist on his own logic. But his ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius was in 2012 and there is more at issue legally now than the “tax” issue in that opinion. One legal complication is that Congress in 2017 repealed the financial part of the individual mandate, not the structure of the mandate itself. Republicans used budget rules to pass tax reform so they couldn’t repeal the mandate’s express language.

The Affordable Care Act has also been up and running since 2014, which means so-called reliance interests come into play when considering a precedent. Millions of people now rely on ObamaCare’s subsidies and rules, which argues against judges repealing the law by fiat.

Judge O’Connor breezes past this like a liberal Ninth Circuit appeals judge handling a Donald Trump appeal. He’s right that Democrats claimed the individual mandate was essential to the Affordable Care Act. But when Congress killed the financial penalty in 2017 it left the rest of ObamaCare intact. When judging congressional intent, a judge must account for the amending Congress as well as the original Congress.

In any case, the Supreme Court’s “severability” doctrine calls for restraint in declaring an entire law illegal merely because one part of it is. Our guess is that even the right-leaning Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judges will overturn Judge O’Connor on this point.

As for the politics, Democrats claim to be alarmed by the ruling but the truth is they’re elated. They want to use it to further pound Republicans for denying health insurance for pre-existing conditions if the law is overturned. Democrats campaigned across the country against Mr. Paxton’s lawsuit to gain House and Senate seats in November, and they will now press votes in Congress so they can compound the gains in 2020.

President Trump hailed the ruling in a tweet, but he has never understood the Affordable Care Act. His Administration has done good work revising regulations to reduce health-care costs and increase access, but the risk is that the lawsuit will cause Republicans in Congress to panic politically and strike a deal with Democrats that reinforces ObamaCare. This is what happens when conservatives fall into the liberal trap of thinking they can use the courts to achieve policy goals that need to be won in Congress.


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Trump names his budget director Mick Mulvaney as ‘acting’ chief of staff as he FINALLY finds someone to succeed ousted John Kelly – amid new plan to prevent government shutdown

  • President named former congressman Mick Mulvaney his acting chief of staff
  • Trump suggested the role is temporary but a White House official indicated to reporters that Mulvaney will stay in the job indefinitely
  • Mulvaney has a lot on his plate as Office of Management and Budget head 
  • His agency will oversee the government shutdown if Congress and the president cannot agree to a short or long-term spending deal by Dec. 21
  • Trump was said to be shopping an extension on Friday that would delay the battle until after the Christmas holiday
  • Had told congressional leaders on Tuesday that he would ‘absolutely’ shut the government down until they give him his desired funding for a border wall
  • Democrats take over Congress in January and will easily pass legislation averting a fiscal cliff, forcing Republicans in the Senate to make a decision 
  • Mulvaney earlier this year wore two hats as director of OMB and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau until Trump filled an open job  
  • Trump said Thursday he was seriously considering five people for chief of staff
  • Chris Christie took himself out of the running on Friday afternoon
  • Jared Kushner was said to lobbying for the role, but White House officials openly dashed cold water on his ambitions
  • Trump left scrambling after he was unexpectedly turned down by Mike Pence chief of staff Nick Ayers last weekend 

President Donald Trump says his Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney will lead the West Wing until he can find a permanent replacement for John Kelly.

Trump effectively let Kelly off the hook on Friday, saying in a tweet that Mulvaney would serve as ‘acting chief of staff’ once the retired general leaves the administration.

A senior official indicated that Mulvaney’s tenure will be indefinite however, telling reporters at the White House minutes after the announcement, ‘There’s no time limit.’

Just this morning, the White House was claiming that Kelly could stay longer than planned, having already agreed to extend his tenure longer than Trump initially said to ensure a smooth transition.

Trump said in an early evening tweet that he had changed his mind and Kelly would be departing at the end of the year.

‘I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction. Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration,’ he announced.

Hours later he sent a follow up tweet insisting ‘MANY’ people wanted the job.

President Donald Trump says his Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney will lead the West Wing until he can find a permanent replacement for John Kelly

President Donald Trump says his Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney will lead the West Wing until he can find a permanent replacement for John Kelly

Trump effectively let Kelly off the hook on Friday, saying in a tweet that Mulvaney would serve as 'acting chief of staff' once the retired general leaves the administration

Trump effectively let Kelly off the hook on Friday, saying in a tweet that Mulvaney would serve as ‘acting chief of staff’ once the retired general leaves the administration

Hours after naming Mulvaney, the president tweeted that 'MANY' people wanted the job

Hours after naming Mulvaney, the president tweeted that ‘MANY’ people wanted the job

Mulvaney has a lot on his plate as Office of Management and Budget head. A White House official said Friday that his job at OMB will be filled by his deputy Russ Vought 

Mulvaney is seen here chatting up Mark Meadows, a Republican congressman that Trump denied the job this week

Mulvaney is seen here chatting up Mark Meadows, a Republican congressman that Trump denied the job this week

In naming Mulvaney, the president went on, ‘I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! John will be staying until the end of the year. He is a GREAT PATRIOT and I want to personally thank him for his service!’

Mulvany heads the Office of Management and Budget within the White House and earlier this year wore two hats as he filled the top job at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

OMB would oversee a partial government shutdown in the case that Congress and the president are unable to resolve their differences ahead of a Dec. 21 deadline to pass legislation to pull unfunded areas of the government out of limbo.

Trump was said on Friday to be shopping a two-week delay in hostilities after declaring on Tuesday that he would ‘absolutely’ preside over a shutdown until Congress approves $5 billion for his border wall.

That would push the fight that could furlough federal workers over the Christmas holiday into early next year. Trump will have lost much of his leverage by then, as Democrats take the majority in the House, but as he made clear in a Thursday tweet he now sees the value of avoiding an expensive and potentially toxic government closure.

‘Let’s not do a shutdown, Democrats – do what’s right for the American people!’ Trump had tweeted.

His appointment of Mulvaney to Kelly’s post on Friday evening suggests that Trump, whose White House is already stretched thin, is seriously considering his options.

A senior official told reporters on Friday evening that the OMB job will be filled for now by Mulvaney’s deputy Russ Vought.

The person stressed Mulvaney’s credentials for chief of staff as a former Member of Congress, representing South Carolina as a Republican from 2011 until the president appointed him OMB head.  

‘He knows Congress. He knows Capitol Hill,’ the official said.

Mulvaney and Trump met at the White House on Thursday afternoon prior to the announcement to discuss the impending fiscal cliff. Trump said in a tweet hours later that Mulvaney would be his interim chief of staff.

Hours prior to the president's announcement that Kelly would be succeeded by Mick Mulvaney, the White House said Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner was not under consideration. Kushner is Ivanka Trump's husband and a senior adviser to the president like she is

Hours prior to the president’s announcement that Kelly would be succeeded by Mick Mulvaney, the White House said Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner was not under consideration. Kushner is Ivanka Trump’s husband and a senior adviser to the president like she is

Trump promoted the job as a temporary assignment, but White House officials signaled that Mulvaney could fill the position for an extended period of time.

‘He’s the acting chief of staff, which means he’s the chief of staff,’ a senior official who requested anonymity said. ‘He got picked because the president liked him they get along.’

The person said that Mulvaney was named ‘acting’ chief instead of permanent chief, ‘because that’s what the president wants.’

‘We’ll see,’ a second official said of the appointment. ‘It’s what the president wants right now.’

Ivanka Trump quickly blasted a a congratulatory note to her new boss on Twitter, telling Mulvaney, ‘You will undoubtedly continue to inspire and impress in this new role just as you have at OMB.

Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to the president, had been a dark horse for the job. The couple routinely clashed with Kelly, and the president’s daughter eagerly welcomed his exit. 

‘Thank you General Kelly for almost 2 years of leadership in this Administration and for a lifetime of service to our great nation!’ she said in her tweet. 

Prior to holding federal office, Mulvaney served as a state representative and state senator in South Carolina. Before that, he practiced law and worked for his family real estate business. 

Mulvaney and his wife Pamela have three children.

In Congress, he was known as a fiscal-hawk and social conservative who ran with the right-wing Freedom Caucus and was willing to shut the government down to trim down the federal deficit. 

Since joining the Trump administration he has taken flack for claiming that there is such a thing as a ‘good shutdown’ that could permanently fix the appropriations process. He has also been dogged by a claim that he says was meant to be a joke that he would only meet with lobbyists as a congressman who’d contributed to his campaigns.

Chris Christie became the latest contender for chief of staff to take himself out of the running on Friday, saying in a statement that it is an honor to have been considered, but it's not the right time in his life for the assignment
His announcement further narrowed the field after counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway confirmed that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner is not under consideration

Chris Christie became the latest contender for chief of staff to take himself out of the running on Friday, saying in a statement that it is an honor to have been considered, but it’s not the right time in his life for the assignment

Mulvaney was the obvious choice for acting White House chief of staff after having been one of two rumored picks for the position for close to six months.

The other contender, Nick Ayers, turned the job down over the weekend.

Chris Christie also took himself out of the running, saying in a Friday afternoon statement that it is an honor to have been considered, but it’s not the right time in his life for the assignment.

He told the New York Times that he had asked Trump ‘to no longer keep me in considerations for this post’ following a meeting on Thursday to discuss the position.

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway meanwhile confirmed that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner was not under consideration.

‘I haven’t heard either Jared or the president mention Jared on the list,’ she asserted. ‘But I think he’s doing a great job at what he’s doing.’

Asked whether the president spoke to Christie and what exactly happened she said: ‘I do know the answer, but I can’t comment. They had a great meeting last night.’

She smiled and said nothing as DailyMail.com asked if she is interested in doing the job that no one else seems to want.

Conway suggested to reporters that the president does have a ‘front-runner’ in mind for the job he’s been openly trying to fill for the last week.

‘I’m not saying, although I know. I know the answer, not telling you,’ she teased.

Reporters, throwing names out and hoping that someone sticks, queried the potential appointment of senior communications aide Bill Shine, who joined the administration earlier this year after working as an executive for many years at Fox.

‘I love that Bill Shine is the communications director,’ she said, ‘and it’s added a lot to our press and coms shop.’

It was unclear on Friday night whether Trump told Christie that he wouldn’t be getting the job and that’s why he abruptly pulled out.

Christie sent Kushner’s father to jail when he served as U.S. attorney for illegal campaign contributions.

Kushner was reported Thursday to have lobbied to become his father-in-law Donald Trump’s chief of staff.

The first son-in-law, already an adviser to the president with an office next to the Oval Office, was reported by the Huffington Post to have pushed his own candidacy and been rewarded with a meeting Wednesday about the role.

He apparently claimed he could work with Democrats – a claim ridiculed by one of the sources for the report who said: ‘I don’t know why he thinks that, when the Democrats are mainly going to be coming after Trump.’

Kushner’s potential candidacy emerged shortly after the president claimed he had five candidates who actually want the job fighting it out.

‘Five people. Really good ones. Terrific people. Mostly well known, but terrific people,’ Trump told reporters on Thursday.

The claim was met with skepticism in wider Washington D.C. given that Trump pushed out John Kelly without a successor in place and was turned down by his first choice.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly attends a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and Governors-elects in the Cabinet Room at the White House on Thursday

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly attends a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and Governors-elects in the Cabinet Room at the White House on Thursday

Trump told the only Republican openly expressing interest in the job that he wants him to stay in Congress.

A White House statement on Wednesday said that Trump ruled out North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows for the top White House position.

‘Congressman Mark Meadows is a great friend to President Trump and is doing an incredible job in Congress. The President told him we need him in Congress so he can continue the great work he is doing there,’ White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Trump’s plans were turned upside down when Trump’s first pick for the position, Nick Ayes, unexpectedly turned the president’s proposition down.

The White House subsequently said that Kelly would be staying on until early January ‘at least’ to the manage the West Wing while the president conducts his search for a replacement.

Politico reported on Monday that Meadows, a leading pro-Trump Republican congressman, was interested in the gig that nobody else seemed to want.

‘Serving as Chief of Staff would be an incredible honor. The President has a long list of qualified candidates and I know he’ll make the best selection for his administration and for the country,’ he told the publication.

The White House told the publication Wednesday that the president asked the congressman who had a double-digit victory in November to remain his position in the House. Meadows is the House Freedom Caucus chairman.

The president claimed Tuesday that more than 10 people were competing for the chief of staff job but none appeared to be in the lead and it was unclear how much any of them actually wants to do it.

‘We are in no rush. Over a period of a week or two or maybe less we’ll announce who it’s going to be, but we have a lot of people who want the position,’ Trump said in a Oval Office meeting with Democratic leaders on Tuesday morning that Kelly attended.

He said, ‘A lot of friends of mine want it. A lot of people that Chuck and Nancy know very well want it, I think people you’d like,’ Trump said, talking up the post. ‘We have a lot of people that want the job of chief of staff. So we’ll be seeing what happens. We’re in no rush.’

Kellyanne Conway told reporters this week that Kelly will stay on as chief of staff 'at least' through the beginning of the year

Kellyanne Conway told reporters this week that Kelly will stay on as chief of staff ‘at least’ through the beginning of the year

The reason, Trump said: ‘Because we have a wonderful chief of staff right here.’

Conway had said during an appearance on ‘Fox & Friends’ on Tuesday morning – just days after the White House said Kelly’s tenure was nearly over – that he wouldn’t be leaving at the end of the year as planned.

‘He will stay on the job through January 2nd at least, and I think there were will be a very peaceful and pragmatic transition to the next chief of staff,’ Conway said. ‘But the president has many people who want to serve here.’

Later in the day, the president held a bill signing in the Oval Office that Mulvaney and Meadows were a part of. The two men allegedly competing for the same job who worked closely together in Congress stood side by side as the president talked.

By Wednesday afternoon, the White House had announced that Meadows, at least, was out of the running, and on Friday, ex-congressman Mulvaney was the last one standing.

Nick Ayers (L), chief of staff to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, announced he is leaving the White House rather than succeeding White House Chief of Staff John Kelly

Nick Ayers turns down Chief of Staff role in Trump Administration

Mick Mulvaney

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Mick Mulvaney
Mick Mulvaney official photo.jpg
Acting White House Chief of Staff
Assuming office
January 2019
President Donald Trump
Deputy Zachary Fuentes
Succeeding John F. Kelly
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Assumed office
February 16, 2017
President Donald Trump
Deputy Russell Vought
Margaret Weichert
Preceded by Shaun Donovan
Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
In office
November 25, 2017[a] – December 11, 2018
President Donald Trump
Deputy Leandra English
Brian Johnson (acting)
Preceded by Richard Cordray
Succeeded by Kathleen Kraninger
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina‘s 5th district
In office
January 3, 2011 – February 16, 2017
Preceded by John Spratt
Succeeded by Ralph Norman
Member of the South Carolina Senate
from the 16th district
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Chauncey K. Gregory
Succeeded by Chauncey K. Gregory
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives
from the 45th district
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Eldridge Emory
Succeeded by Debora Long
Personal details
John Michael Mulvaney

July 21, 1967 (age 51)
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.

Political party Republican
Pamela West (m. 1998)
Children 3
Education Georgetown University (BS)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (JD)

John Michael Mulvaney (/mʌlˈvni/; born July 21, 1967) is an American politician of the Republican Party who is serving in President Donald Trump‘s cabinet as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He will serve as Trump’s acting White House Chief of Staff, beginning in 2019.[1][2] Mulvaney served as the acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from November 2017 to December 2018.

Mulvaney served in the South Carolina General Assembly from 2007 to 2011, first in the State House of Representatives and then the State Senate.[3] He served as a U.S. House Representative from 2011 to 2017.[4] He was nominated as OMB Director by President-elect Donald Trump in December 2016[5] and confirmed by Senate vote (51–49) on February 16, 2017.[6] While Mulvaney was known for his professed support for fiscal conservatismas a congressman, Mulvaney oversaw a dramatic expansion in the deficit as OMB Director. The deficit increases were a result of both spending increases and tax cuts, and were unusually high for a period of economic expansion.[7]

In November 2017, Trump appointed Mulvaney to serve as Acting CFPB Director under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which allows for the president to appoint an interim replacement without Senate confirmation. Mulvaney’s appointment was contested by CFPB Deputy Director Leandra English, but a federal judge had ruled in Mulvaney’s favor, thus Mulvaney was simultaneously directing both CFPB and OMB for almost 13 months.

On December 14, 2018, Donald Trump named Mulvaney as White House Chief of Staff in an acting capacity to begin with the new year.[8]


Early life

Mulvaney was born in Alexandria, Virginia, to Michael “Mike” and Kathleen “Kathy” Mulvaney, a teacher,[9] and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina.[10] His father was a real estate developer[11] He later moved to Indian Land, South Carolina.[12][13] His grandparents were originally from County Mayo, Ireland.[14] He attended Charlotte Catholic High School and then Georgetown University, where he majored in international economics, commerce and finance.[12] At Georgetown, he was an Honors Scholar of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and ultimately graduated with honors in 1989.[13]

Mulvaney attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned a full scholarship to attend law school, where his focus was on antitrust law. He graduated with his J.D. degree in 1992.[15]

Early legal work

From 1992 to 1997, Mulvaney practiced law with the firm James, McElroy & Diehl. Mulvaney joined his family’s homebuilding and real estate business. He participated in the Owners and Presidents Management Program at Harvard Business School. He was a minority shareholder and owner-operator in Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina, a privately held regional restaurant chain.[16]

South Carolina legislature

State House

Mulvaney was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2006.[17]

State Senate

In 2008 an unexpected retirement created a vacancy in the South Carolina Senate and he campaigned for and won that office in what was widely regarded to be the hardest fought legislative race in South Carolina that year.[18]

While in the State Senate, Mulvaney served on the Judiciary, Labor/Commerce/Industry, Medical Affairs, Agriculture/Natural Resources, and Corrections Committees. The Palmetto Family Council identified him as the Freshman Legislator of the Year in 2006 for his work on the South Carolina ultrasound bill.[19][20]

In 2010 he was named Legislator of the Year for his work in support of the State’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS). He has received one of the few A+ ratings in the entire legislature from the South Carolina Club for Growth.[20]

U.S. House of Representatives

Mulvaney’s official portrait



Mulvaney, a GOP Young Gun, ran against Democratic incumbent John M. Spratt Jr. for South Carolina’s 5th congressional district. The race was highlighted by Mitt Romney‘s Free and Strong America PAC’s “Take Congress Back: 10 in ’10” initiative as one of the top 10 House challenger races.[21] Mulvaney’s involvement in the now defunct Edenmoor real estate development in Lancaster County, South Carolina became a campaign issue, with Mulvaney’s opponents alleging that he misled the Lancaster County council and taxpayers to provide $30 million in public funding for the real estate development and that once the public funds had been approved, Mulvaney sold his interest in the development to a third party at a $7 million profit.[22][23] Mulvaney denied the allegations and said that the project’s failure was due to Democratic economic policies.[22] He defeated Spratt, who had held the seat since 1983, with 55% of the vote.[24]

Mulvaney’s campaign against Spratt was aided by a 501(c)(4) organization named the Commission on Hope, Growth, and Opportunity. The group, which was established by anonymous donors and run by lobbyist Scott W. Reed, has been accused by the watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington of violating federal campaign finance laws and disclosing false information to the Internal Revenue Service.[25]


Mulvaney speaking at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C.

He won re-election to a second term by defeating Democrat Joyce Knott 56%–44%.[26][27]


He won re-election to a third term by defeating Democrat Tom Adams, a Fort Mill Town Council[28] member, 59%–41%.[29]

Mulvaney cofounded the bipartisan Blockchain Caucus, “meant to help congressmen stay up to speed on cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies”, and develop policies that advance them.[30]


Mulvaney faced Ray Craig in the Republican primary and defeated him 78–22%.[31] Mulvaney was re-elected to a fourth term, winning over 59% of the vote.[32]


During his time in the U.S. House, Mulvaney aligned himself with the Tea Party movement.[33][34] He was a founding member of the Freedom Caucus.[35]

He opposed gun control initiatives and the Affordable Care Act.[36][37][38]


In April 2018, Mulvaney told a room of banking industry executives and lobbyists that as a Congressman he refused to take meetings with lobbyists unless they contributed to his congressional campaigns.[39] He said, “If you are a lobbyist who never gave us money, I did not talk to you. If you are a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”[39] At the top of the hierarchy, he added, were his constituents. “If you came from back home and sat in my lobby, I talked to you without exception, regardless of the financial contributions,” said Mr. Mulvaney.[39]

An April 2018 Daily Beast analysis of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) visitor logs and campaign finance disclosures found that Mulvaney had as OMB Director met with at least eight registered lobbyists and six executives who donated to his congressional campaigns.[40]

Government shutdown

According to the New York Times, Mulvaney took “a hard line on spending during President Obama’s term, vowing not to raise the nation’s debt limit and embracing the term ‘Shutdown Caucus’ because of his willingness to shut the government down instead.”[37] In 2015, Mulvaney voted against a government-funding resolution, which would have prevented a government shutdown, in part because it included funding for Planned Parenthood.[41] Explaining his vote, Mulvaney said, “This is not about women’s health. It’s about trafficking in pieces of dead children.”[41] After his appointment as head of the OMB in 2017, he reiterated his conditional position of support for a shutdown.[42]


Mulvaney supported the Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015, which would have “[created] a commission tasked with eliminating and revising outdated and redundant federal regulations.”[43][44]

Fiscal year 2014 budget

On December 10, 2013, Republican Representative Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray announced that they had negotiated the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, a proposed two-year budget deal.[45][46] The budget deal capped the federal government’s spending for Fiscal Year 2014 at $1.012 trillion and for Fiscal Year 2015 at $1.014.[47]

The proposed deal eliminated some of the spending cuts required by the sequester by $45 billion of the cuts scheduled to happen in January and $18 billion of the cuts scheduled to happen in 2015.[47] This did not decrease federal spending; instead, by reducing the amount of spending cuts the government was going to be forced to make by the sequester, it actually increased government spending by $45 billion and $18 billion over what would have been spent had the sequester remained in place. Some Republicans wanted Speaker John Boehner to pursue a temporary measure that would cover the rest of Fiscal Year 2014 at the level set by the sequester – $967 billion, rather than pass this budget deal, which would have $45 billion in additional spending.[48]

The deal was designed to make up for this increase in spending by raising airline fees and changing the pension contribution requirements of new federal workers.[45] According to The Hill, Mulvaney spearheaded opposition to the bill. He did not blame Ryan for the budget deal, instead saying that the problem was that too few conservatives had been elected to Congress to pass a budget with a greater focus on debt reduction.[48] Mulvaney said that he expected the budget deal to pass because “it was designed to get the support of defense hawks and appropriators and Democrats”, not conservatives.[45]

On April 9, 2014, Mulvaney offered a proposal based on the Obama proposal as a substitute amendment in order to force a vote on the President’s budget request. The President’s proposal failed in a vote of 2–413, although Democrats were urged by their leadership to vote against this “political stunt.”[49]

Presidential endorsements

Mulvaney speaking at a campaign event for Senator Rand Paul in Spartanburg, South Carolina in September 2015.

In September 2015, Mulvaney endorsed Kentucky Senator Rand Paul in the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries.[50]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Director of the Office of Management and Budget[edit]


On December 16, 2016, Mulvaney was announced as President-elect Donald Trump‘s choice to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.[53]

Mulvaney’s nomination as Director-designate was reviewed in hearings held by the members of the United States Senate Committee on the Budget and the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

In his statement to the Senate Budget Committee, Mulvaney admitted that he had failed to pay $15,000 in payroll taxes from 2000-04 for a nanny he had hired to care for his triplets. Mulvaney said he did not pay the taxes because he viewed the woman as a babysitter rather than as a household employee. After filling out a questionnaire from the Trump transition team, he realized the lapse and began the process of paying back taxes and fees. Senate Democrats noted that Republicans had previously insisted that past Democratic nominees’ failure to pay taxes for their household employees was disqualifying, including former Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle in 2009.[54][55]

On February 16, 2017, the Senate confirmed Mulvaney, 51–49.[6][56]


During his tenure as OMB Director, Mulvaney sought to influence President Donald Trump to cut Social Security and Medicare.[11] When he introduced himself to Gary Cohn, who was then Trump’s chief economic advisor, Mulvaney said, “Hi, I’m a right-wing nutjob.”[11]While Mulvaney was known for his professed support for fiscal conservatism as a congressman, under Mulvaney’s tenure as OMB Director there was a dramatic expansion in the deficit as a result of both spending increases and tax cuts.[7] The deficits were unusually high for a period of economic expansion.[7]

Manipulated unemployment numbers claim

In March 2017, Mulvaney stated that he believed that “the Obama administration was manipulating the numbers, in terms of the number of people in the workforce, to make the unemployment rate — that percentage rate — look smaller than it actually was,” and that “[w]hat you should really look at is the number of jobs created.”[57] There is no evidence that jobs numbers under the Obama administration were manipulated.[57][58][59] FiveThirtyEight‘s Ben Casselman noted that “manipulating the jobs figures… would mean not just messing with one number but rather interfering with an entire ecosystem of statistics” and “would require a conspiracy theory of massive proportions, involving hundreds if not thousands of people.”[58]

Criticism of the Congressional Budget Office

In March 2017, Mulvaney stated that the Congressional Budget Office was not capable of assessing the American Health Care Act, stating that “[i]f the CBO was right about Obamacare to begin with, there’d be 8 million more people on Obamacare today than there actually are.”[60] According to FactCheck.Org, “[t]he CBO actually nailed the overall impact of the law on the uninsured pretty closely…It’s true (as Trump administration officials have repeatedly pointed out) that CBO greatly overestimated the number who would get government-subsidized coverage through the new insurance exchanges. But at the same time, CBO underestimated the number who would get coverage through expanding Medicaid. And whatever the failings of CBO’s predictions, they were closer to the mark than those of the Obama administration and some other prominent forecasters.”[61] PolitiFact noted that “the initial CBO analysis of the Affordable Care Act did forecast that more people would participate in health care exchanges than actually did, but the CBO has revised those estimates. Moreover, independent analyses, as well as experts agree that the CBO offers some of the best estimates given the information available at the time.”[62]

In May 2017, Mulvaney was critical of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) after it estimated the version of the American Health Care Act passed by the house in May 2017 would result in 23 million fewer people with health insurance. Mulvaney said that the CBO’s assessment was “absurd” and that “the days of relying on some nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to do that work for us has probably come and gone.”[63]

Trump administration’s budget proposals

While promoting the Trump administration’s budget proposal in March 2017, Mulvaney stated that, as to taxpayers, the government was “not gonna ask you for your hard-earned money, anymore… unless we can guarantee to you that that money is actually being used in a proper function.”[64] For instance, Mulvaney justified cuts to block grants that go towards spending on Meals on Wheels because it was “just not showing any results.”[65][66] Others disagreed with Mulvaney’s statement, citing research that has “found home-delivered meal programs to significantly improve diet quality, increase nutrient intakes, and reduce food insecurity and nutritional risk among participants. Other beneficial outcomes include increased socialization opportunities, improvement in dietary adherence, and higher quality of life.”[67][65]

On May 22, 2017, Mulvaney presented President Trump’s $4.1 trillion 2018 United States federal budget. The budget included cuts to the United States Department of State, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the social safety net and increases in funding for defense spending and paid family leave. The “America First” budget included a 10.6% decrease in domestic program spending and a 10% increase in military spending, in addition to $1.6 billion for a border wall.[68] The budget would remove $272 billion from welfare programs, including $272 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.[68] The budget would also remove $800 billion from Medicaid, and $72 billion from Social Security disability benefits, while removing nothing from Social Security retirement or Medicare benefits.[68] Mulvaney projected the budget will not add to the federal deficit because future tax cuts will lead to 3% GDP growth.[68] He described the budget as “the first time in a long time that an administration has written a budget through the eyes of the people who are actually paying the taxes.”[69]

In December 2017, the President signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The United States Congress Joint Committee on Taxation forecasted that with dynamic scoring the $1.5 trillion reduction in revenues will increase the federal deficit by $1 trillion.[70] Regulatory implementation of the tax cuts have been delayed by a dispute between Mulvaney and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin regarding the involvement of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.[71]

In February 2018, Mulvaney released the President’s $4.4 trillion 2019 United States federal budget, which would add $984 billion to the federal deficit that year, and $7 trillion over the next 10 years.[72] Later that month, the President signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which allowed yearly federal deficits to reach $1 trillion.[73] In March 2018, Congress ultimately passed the $1.3 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, which funded the government’s operations until the end of the fiscal year in September.[74]

Ethics waivers

On April 28, 2017, Walter Shaub, the Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics issued a data request to see the ethics waivers given to ex-lobbyists in the executive branch, which Mulvaney then refused.[75] On May 22, Shaub sent Mulvaney, in addition to every federal ethics officer, every inspector general, and the six members of Congress responsible for government oversight, a ten-page response reasserting his legal authority to see the ethics waivers.[75]

Government shutdown

In a press briefing on May 2, 2017, Mulvaney said that a “good shutdown” of the federal government might be necessary in September. He defined such a situation as one “that fixes Washington, D.C. permanently.”[42] In the same conference call to reporters, Mulvaney defended a funding package which contained no funds for President Trump’s posed border wall. The call became infamous after being plagued with technical problems and interruptions.[76]

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau


Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski had encouraged the President to replace Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray.[77] As a congressman, Mulvaney had been a strong critic of the CFPB, calling it a “sick, sad” joke and cosponsoring legislation for its elimination.[78] Mulvaney’s congressional campaigns had accepted nearly $63,000 in donations from payday lenders.[77]

President Trump appointed Mulvaney to serve as Acting Director of the CFPB under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA), which allows for the president to appoint an interim replacement without Senate confirmation. However, a dispute arose over whether Mulvaney can be so-named under the FVRA or whether a provision of the Dodd-Frank Act controls, which would make the deputy director, Leandra English, acting director of the CFPB instead. This led to a court battle, English v. Trump. On November 28, 2017, U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly denied English’s motion for a preliminary injunction and allowed Mulvaney to begin serving as CFPB Acting Director.[79]


Mulvaney immediately stopped hiring at the CFPB, stopped collecting fines, suspended rulemaking, and ordered all active investigations reviewed.[80] Mulvaney also sharply reduced agency personnel’s access to bank data, arguing that it posed a security risk.[39] On January 18, 2018, Mulvaney submitted a quarterly budget request for the CFPB to the Federal Reserve for $0.[81][82]

In January 2018, Mulvaney canceled an investigation into a South Carolina payday lender that had previously donated to his congressional campaigns.[77] He also dropped a lawsuit the CFPB was pursuing against an online lender the bureau had found was charging 950% interest.[83] Mulvaney suspended a short-term payday loan regulation.[84] In addition to payday lenders, Mulvaney also scaled back efforts to go after auto lenders and others accused of preying on vulnerable consumers.[39] By April 2018, more than four months after taking charge of the CFPB, Mulvaney had not undertaken a single enforcement action against finance companies; the previous CFPB director, Richard Cordray, averaged two to four enforcement actions per month.[84] Mulvaney accepted nearly $63,000 in donations by payday lenders while he was a congressman; in April 2018, he said that he would never take a meeting with lobbyists unless they contributed to his campaigns.[39]

In April 2018, Mulvaney submitted the CFPB’s annual report to Congress, in which he recommended the bureau’s funding should be made to require congressional appropriations, that its future rulemaking should require legislative approval, and that he, the director, should be made removable without cause by the President.[85]

The Community Financial Services Association of America, a trade association representing the payday lending industry, praised Mulvaney’s approach, calling it “relatively passive”.[77]

In April 2018, it was reported that Mulvaney had given some of his political appointees at the CFPB raises.[86] Mulvaney hired at least eight appointees after he took over the agency and created positions for some the appointees which did not exist under Cordray’s tenure at the CFPB.[86]

In April 2018, Mulvaney said that he would shut down public access to the CFPB’s online database of consumer complaints where consumers could post complaints and the CFPB used to guide its investigations.[39] Mulvaney said, “I don’t see anything in here that says I have to run a Yelp for financial services sponsored by the federal government.”[39] As the database was mandated by law, it could not be shut down, only closed to the public.[87] A review of Mulvaney’s campaign contributions as a congressman showed that 8 of the 10 firms with the most complaints about them had contributed to Mulvaney’s campaigns.[87]

In April 2018, Mulvaney announced a $1 billion fine against Wells Fargo for fraudulent practices. The case against Wells Fargo started prior to Mulvaney’s tenure, and there were reports that Mulvaney considered dropping the case. Amid this reporting, Trump warned that the bank would be fined.[88]

In May 2018, The New York Times reported that Mulvaney worked two to three days a week at the CFPB, a few hours at a time.[88]

In August 2018, it was reported that Mulvaney was considering rolling back oversight of lenders to see if they were violating the Military Lending Act and predating on military service members and their families.[89]

White House Chief of Staff


On December 14, 2018, Donald Trump named Mulvaney as his acting White House Chief of Staff beginning with the new year.[90] Prior to Trump’s election, Mulvaney had characterized the future president as a “terrible human being”.[91][92]

Personal life

In 1998, Mulvaney married Pamela West whom he had met in line at a bookstore while he was a law student. The couple have triplets, (born in 2000) Finn, James and Caroline.[14][9] He is a Roman Catholic.[93]

Mick Mulvaney’s brother Ted Mulvaney (Theodore) is portfolio manager for Braeburn Capital, the investment arm of tech giant Apple Inc.[94][95]


  1. ^ Disputed with Leandra English until November 28.