WASHINGTON -- Office of Budget and Management Director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that President Donald Trump’s budget is cutting costs in the administration -- despite the millions of dollars being spent on security for the president’s trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Mulvaney was asked on CBS’ “Face the Nation” how the president could propose cutting programs that affect regular voters while at the same time continuing to spend many of his weekends at Mar-a-Lago.
This weekend was Mr. Trump’s ninth in office, and the fifth he has spent at Mar-a-Lago. His first three Mar-a-Lago weekends cost taxpayers an estimated $10 million.
“I don’t have a business card to give you today,” Mulvaney told CBS’ John Dickerson, “because at the Office of Management and Budget we have to pay for our own business cards. So it does start at home, but it’s already started.”
Mulvaney said Mr. Trump and his team put together their budget without the influence of special interests or lobbyists, and that its sole audience is “the people.”
“We had special interests at play on the Hill, we had lobbies at play on the Hill,” Mulvaney said, referring to the budget process from his own time in Congress. “The president wrote this budget without consideration for those things -- without being beholden to anybody except the people, and that’s who this budget is written for.”
On health care, Mulvaney disputed the argument that low-income Trump voters in red states will be most likely to lose coverage under the GOP’s proposed plan, saying the president plans to take care of his voters.
“The president knows -- believe me, we know who his voters are and we’re going to take care of them no question,” he said. “But that doesn’t actually mean we’re leaving Obamacare in place, because that would actually hurt them dramatically.”
The GOP’s plan will take care of low-income Trump voters “the same way that we’ve taken care of people for a long time in this country which is through competition,” he said.
“Part of the problem with Obamacare right now -- and I’ve discovered this firsthand, I live in South Carolina -- we’re down to one provider. You can imagine what that does to price competition on costs: it doesn’t do anything but increase the costs,” Mulvaney said. “And one of the key points of the plan that is in the Republican House right now is that it is going to encourage more competition, which will lower the cost for everybody, not just Trump voters.”
He disagreed with the notion that Trump voters will have to wait to see savings from the GOP’s plan until several phases into the legislation, saying he believes “those folks will be immediately better off.”
“Without exception those folks will be better off under the new plan than they are under Obamacare,” he said.
As for entitlements, Mulvaney said Mr. Trump’s budget is consistent with his promise not to take away anyone’s Social Security or Medicare -- and drew attention to programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance as potential areas that could be cut.
“Let me ask you a question, do you really think that Social Security Disability Insurance is part of what people think of when they think of Social Security?” he asked. “I don’t think so. It’s the fastest-growing program, it grew tremendously under President Obama, it’s a very wasteful program and we want to try and fix that.”