But in 2018, after Trump and Congress failed to come to an agreement on funding a wall along the Southern border, Mulvaney found himself on the other side of the shutdown fight: Not just calling for a shutdown, but actually executing one.
Trump’s budget chief on what it’s like to be in charge of closing the government.
Politico | 29 September, 2023
On December 22, 2018, Mick Mulvaney achieved a major milestone in his political career: He signed a piece of paper officially shutting down a wide swath of the federal government.
Mulvaney, then serving as the director of Office of Management and Budget in Donald Trump’s administration, was no stranger to shutdown politics. As a U.S. House member representing South Carolina between 2011 and 2017, Mulvaney earned a reputation as the leader of a group of hardline conservatives who were unafraid to use the threat of a shutdown to advance their spending priorities. In 2013, Mulvaney and his fellow fiscal conservatives achieved just that, forcing the federal government into a 16-day shutdown as part of an unsuccessful effort to block funding for Barack Obama’s signature health care bill.
“[It] was a unique experience, especially for someone who had been through shutdowns when I was in Congress,” Mulvaney told me when I spoke with him over the phone this week. “I wondered how many people would laugh, cry, wail, scream, do whatever when they found out that I was the one to shut the government down.”
Mulvaney was joined on our call by two of his top aides from OMB — Emma Doyle, the agency’s former chief of staff, and Michael Williams, an assistant deputy legal counsel — who explained that the politics of implementing a shutdown are just as complex as the politics that lead to one.
“It’s a very political decision,” said Doyle of the choice of which parts of the federal government to close and which to keep open. “There’s a lot of discretion.”
Yet even after having seen how the sausage gets made, Mulvaney said he’s just as bullish as ever on the importance of shutdowns.
“It’s not ideal, [but] it’s not the end of the world.”
Read more at Politico.
Photo credit: Reuters
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