Director of the Office of Management and Budget: Who Is Mick Mulvaney?
John Michael “Mick” Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s nominee to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, was narrowly confirmed by a 51-to-49 U.S. Senate vote on February 16, 2017. He will be in charge of a nearly $4 trillion dollar budget. First though, Mulvaney, who failed to pay taxes for his children’s’ nanny, has to get his own fiscal house in order.
Mulvaney was born July 21, 1967, in Alexandria, Virginia, to Mike and Kathy Mulvaney and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. His father was a home-builder and his mother a teacher. He graduated from Charlotte Catholic High School, where he was on the golf team and edited the student newspaper, in 1985. While in high school, he worked as a runner for the law firm of James, McElroy & Diehl. Mulvaney then went to Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and earned a B.S. in international economics and finance in 1989. He then went to law school at the University of North Carolina, gaining his J.D. in 1992.
Mulvaney’s first job was as a litigator at James, McElroy & Diehl. He left the firm in 1996 to open his own law practice, but then went into his father’s home-building business. In 2000, the home-building part of the business was sold and Mulvaney and his father concentrated on real estate development.
Mulvaney moved just south of the state line into South Carolina in 2002, settling in the town of Indian Land. In 2006, he went into politics, winning a seat in the South Carolina House. Two years later, he moved up to the state Senate. He was also an attorney for the founders of the local Salsarita’s Mexican food chain and in 2009 he bought a franchise and currently owns two stores in the Charlotte area.
Mulvaney rode the Tea Party wave into Congress in 2010. According to the Conservative Review, he is considered one of the 14 most conservative members of Congress. In 2013, after Hurricane Sandy, he proposed an amendment that would only allow a $50 billion emergency relief bill to become law if it could be paid for by budget cuts elsewhere. The amendment failed. In his three terms, he has urged that the retirement age be raised and has signed on to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher scheme. Those positions would appear to put him at odds with Trump, who has promised not to cut the programs.
Mulvaney backed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president in 2012 and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in 2016 before jumping on Trump’s bandwagon right before the convention.
Mulvaney drew fire at his confirmation hearing from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) for those positions and some from Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) for his votes to cut defense spending and troop deployments. Mulvaney said he couldn’t recall making some of those votes. McCain responded: “I think I would remember if I was withdrawing troops from Europe.”
Mulvaney also was criticized at his confirmation hearing for not having paid payroll taxes for the woman who cared for his triplets when they were young. “In our minds, she was a babysitter. She did not live with us. She did not spend the night there. She did not cook. She did not clean. She did not educate the children, she helped my wife with the kids.” Failing to pay taxes for a nanny has sunk more than one Democratic nominee in the past, but Republicans are sticking by Mulvaney to manage the nation’s budget. He will be forced to pay $15,583 in taxes in addition to penalties, however.
Mulvaney voted in the past not to raise the debt ceiling, including in 2011 when Republican intransigence caused the government to pay more to borrow money. As the OMB director, he may have to change his view of this issue to keep from starting a panic in the bond market.
Mulvaney and his wife, Pam, have three children, who are now teenagers.
To Learn More:
Once Skeptical of Trump, Charlotte Catholic Grad’s In Line to Be His Budget Director (by Jim Morrill, Charlotte Observer)
Mulvaney Defends Nanny Tax Lapse, Tangles With Democrats on Budget (by Ben Weyl and Brent Griffiths, Politico)
Dem Senator Humiliates Trump by Forcing His Nominee to Admit Obama’s Inauguration Crowd Looks Bigger (by Brad Reed, Raw Story)
Trump’s Big Cabinet Surprise (by Heather Long, CNN)
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