headlines. All I can tell you about is what we’re trying to do.” We
can’t be on defense when we’re talking about our principles; we cannot be ashamed of what we stand for and what we believe in. We have
to go out and tell people what we believe in. At the end of the day you
have to believe in your principles or you’re just wasting your time.
RUSH: Exactly. One of the things that’s always frustrated me, be it
this or any other legislation, is that every budget submitted by any
Republican is always accused of starving children, or being draconian, cutting this, cutting that. Is it true that as far as total expenditures, there aren’t any cuts? This budget is not smaller than the
previous year or the year before that, right?
MULVANEY: In Washington, if you spent $100 last year and $100
this year, we call that a cut. In Washington if you spent $100 last
year and $102 this year, we call that a cut. If you spend $106, we
call it a freeze. You have to get to $108 before they call it an increase. That’s because of the CBO baseline budgeting. We assume
that the government must grow with population plus inflation — and that’s just absurd. That’s why all these folks say, “Oh,
you’re cutting Medicaid.” No, we’re not.
We’re slowing the growth of Medicaid. We
are spending more year over year. I think
there is one small exception in Medicaid,
but generally speaking, we spend more
money year over year in the whole budget
and we don’t cut, we just grow the government more slowly.
RUSH: Right. The left knows this, the Democrats know it, and they
know exactly what they’re saying when they’re mischaracterizing
this. The media feeds it. This baseline budgeting has been around
since the 70s — when exactly?
RUSH: Right, ’74. And it’s dastardly. It guarantees 3 to 5 percent
growth, sometimes more, per department. You have the Agriculture
Department advertising food stamps at the end of the budget year
to make sure their baseline is met. How have you sought to attack
that? You’re putting together an economic document here. You
want it to be as thorough and honest financially, numerically, as it
can be, and yet here is the political component that is being distorted from the get-go.
MULVANEY: Here’s the principle we put in place: that folks who
administer these programs at the local level are much more attuned
to what’s going on than we are in Washington, D.C. However, if they
don’t have any skin in the game, they have no financial incentive to
try to help us fix them. So with food stamps, while the states do pay
50 percent of the administrative costs to the program they administer, they don’t actually pay for any of the benefits. The feds pay for
100 percent of the benefits. One of the proposals we made would
have moved a little piece of that benefit over onto the states, in order
to give them a financial incentive to help us fix these programs.
We saw that principle repeated again and again in this budget as
we try and figure out a way to make the government more efficient,
more accountable, more effective, and I’m very proud of that. I
think that’s something Republicans and Democrats should rally to,
because they like government, and we like small government — but
we should all hate bad government. That’s what we’re really going
after in this budget, is bad government.
RUSH: Well, everybody knows Democrats are never going to help
you. But Mr. Director, it looks to observers like me that one of the
biggest obstacles President Trump faces, in the budget or any other
legislation, be it health care reform or tax reform, happens to be the
Republicans in both the House and the Senate. I know you may not
be comfortable addressing this, but Democrats are automatically going to oppose, we know that, but they don’t
have the numbers to stop them. We’ve had
health care supposedly on the reform list for
seven years, we can’t do it. With tax reform,
“I don’t know,” they say. “We can’t get there.”
How much of this are you prepared to deal
with when the opposition to this comes from
people in your own Party who really don’t
want the President to succeed?
MULVANEY: Rush, I don’t think it’s they
don’t want the President to succeed. I think
some of them just don’t have the courage to
do their jobs. They really like the job, they
don’t want to lose an election, it’s more important to them that they keep their job than
it is to do the job. It’s one of the reasons I do
support term limits, and I know the President does as well. That is extraordinarily
frustrating, because if we don’t fix it now, it
will never get fixed.
Ronald Reagan said, “There’s nothing more permanent in life
than a temporary government program.” If you cannot get rid of
Obamacare now, if you cannot reform the tax code now, if you cannot get an infrastructure built now, if you cannot fix the EPA now,
those things are never, ever, ever going to be fixed, mostly because
people won’t trust us ever again with the levers of power. And frankly,
if we don’t fix it now, they would be right to not trust us in the future.
RUSH: Explain the politics of this to me, because the President campaigned specifically on the agenda items you just mentioned. They
were front and center, four and five times a day. If any President was
elected with a mandate, it was President Trump. And yet the political
establishment in Washington seems hell-bent on denying the President, and in this case, the expressed will of the people. Now, I’m not
naive, I understand politics, but it seems there should be a lot more
energy to move the agenda. But you’re right, if we can’t do it now,
take this opportunity, I don’t know when it’s going to come again.
MULVANEY: I grew up under Reagan; I was 13 when Reagan was
elected. I think back to the day that the Bush-Gore race was called
for President Bush, I was 33 years old, and I remember thinking to
myself: “It’s finally happened. We got the House, we got the Senate,
“We can’t be on defense when we’re talking about our principles;
we cannot be ashamed of what we stand for.” — MICK MULVANEY