If Shutdown Needed to Fix Washington, ‘So Be It,’ Mulvaney Says

  • Budget director responds to Trump ‘good shutdown’ tweet
  • Democrats criticize Trump for seeming to advocate stoppage

If it takes shutting down the U.S. government to fix a broken budget appropriations process, that’s acceptable to the White House, said budget director Mick Mulvaney.

“This president is willing to think outside the box and do things differently around here in order to change Washington,’’ Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation’’ on Sunday. “If that comes to a shutdown in September, so be it.’’

Mick Mulvaney on May 2.

Photographer: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Mulvaney was asked about President Donald Trump’s Twitter message on May 2 that “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!’’ following the agreement on a $1.1 trillion bill to fund the government through the end of September. The fiscal 2018 budget must be approved by October 1.

Trump signed the bill on May 5 to keep the government open while arguing that it is unconstitutional for Congress to restrict his spending decisions involving the military and certain other government operations. Trump said he’s not legally bound by limits imposed on him in the bill, including a prohibition on the Department of Justice using funds to prevent states from implementing medical-marijuana laws.

Some Republicans criticized the measure for not including many of Trump’s priorities, such as constructing a wall on the southern U.S. border with Mexico. Democrats “cleaned our clock’’ on the spending bill, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a May 2 interview on CNN.

The president has complained about Senate rules that require 60 votes to pass a budget measure, which means he can’t rely just on the 52-member Republican majority and must negotiate with Democrats.

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Trump is frustrated with an appropriations process that hasn’t worked well for more than a decade, and as is willing to act on a campaign promise to rid Washington of entrenched special interests, Mulvaney said.

“A good shutdown would be one that could help fix that,’’ Mulvaney said. “It’s part of that overall ‘drain the swamp’ mentality about Washington D.C.’’

Democrats have criticized Trump for threatening to shut down the government.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said shutdowns are “un-American” and put too much “agony” on people.

“There is no good shutdown,” Manchin said on “Face the Nation.” “There should not even be the talk of a shutdown.”

— With assistance by Ben Brody

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