The Hill - Rep. Mulvaney wields satire against President Obama’s budget, tax policies
Rep. Mulvaney wields satire against President Obama's budget, tax policies
By Ramsey Cox - 04/16/12
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) has put himself at the forefront of the crusade against President Obama's budget and tax policies, and is doing so with his own brand of humor. With tongue firmly in cheek, late last month Mulvaney corrected what he called a Democratic "oversight" by offering Obama's 2013 budget for a House vote.
"Clearly, my colleagues meant to offer the president's budget as an amendment and simply
failed to do so," Mulvaney said on the House floor. "And so in a pique of
bipartisanship, I thought I would help my colleagues across the aisle out a
little bit and offer the president's budget, which is exactly what this
Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) called the move a
"charade" and said Mulvaney's amendment was "a very misleading version of what
the president has asked us to do."
Democrats opposed the amendment, which was defeated 414-0, although Mulvaney
said he was "honored" that Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) asked
him to offer it.
Mulvaney, who serves on the Budget Committee, remained loyal to Ryan by
voting for his budget this year.
"I thought that Paul and the leadership negotiated in good faith. They gave
us some of the things we asked for. They didn't give us everything we asked
for, but that's the nature of negotiation," Mulvaney said. "Paul really had
given us everything leadership was going to give him. ... I think he was at the
end of his rope with leadership."
A common criticism of Ryan's budget from both Democrats and Republicans was
its lack of detail on taxes. But Mulvaney said he didn't blame Ryan for that
because it's not the Budget Committee's job.
"I had no difficulty with the lack of specificity in the budget. I have
difficulty with the lack of specificity that my party is offering generally and
the fact that we've been talking about tax reform since the day I got here but
that we haven't seen a single bill out of the Ways and Means Committee,"
"I think that's an embarrassment. We sit here and talk and talk about tax
reform and closing the loopholes and broadening the base, lowering the rates,
but it's all words. We haven't taken any real action on that in 15 months and I
think that's disingenuous," he said.
Mulvaney introduced the Keeping Promises to Taxpayers Act to highlight
Obama's broken promise not to impose taxes on those earning less than $250,000.
He got the idea during a committee hearing last year when Rep. Tim Ryan
(D-Ohio) proposed an amendment to Ryan's 2012 budget that would have promised
not to raise taxes on that group of taxpayers.
"[Obama] promised never to raise taxes on people making less than $250,000
[a year]," Mulvaney said. "He's clearly not living up to his campaign promises.
So we just decided it would be a good bill to draw attention to the fact that
taxes actually have gone up."
Mulvaney's bill, H.R. 4064, would repeal 12 tax increases — most of which
were part of Obama's Affordable Care Act — such as taxes on the use of tanning
beds and the purchase of tobacco products.
Mulvaney isn't just trying to keep the president accountable, he's also
quick to call out the leaders of his own party.
Along with several other conservative freshmen, Mulvaney returned $1.4
million in unspent office funds to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
But Mulvaney said they didn't do it "to beat their chests": they did it to
expose the fact that the money wouldn't automatically be used to pay down the
deficit — it goes into a "slush fund" for whomever is speaker to use.
"It's absurd to ask a Republican office to sacrifice so that Nancy Pelosi
can have more of a slush fund and it's just not right. And the same is true
with Boehner, even though he's my party's leader," said Mulvaney. "Why would I
ask these folks to do with less so that he could have more? So we were trying
to draw attention to the fact that this shared fund seems like a screwy
Another area of frustration with leadership for Mulvaney is that his
"YouCut" bill — officially called the Reducing the Size of Federal Government
Through Attrition Act — hasn't had a floor vote, despite having passed through
committee at the end of last year.
"We were told it would have a floor vote — I don't know what's happened,"
Mulvaney said. "I think what you're seeing is that it's such a good idea, that
it actually saves a lot of money, that it's being held out as a pay-for for
possible spending increases somewhere else and that's unfortunate."
But Mulvaney is not always partisan. Another one of his bills recently
passed in his other committee — Small Business. Mulvaney said he and Rep. Judy
Chu (D-Calif.) teamed up on this bipartisan measure to make it easier for small
businesses to get government subcontracts.
"We took what we heard on the road, tried to fix some of the difficulties
and I fully expect it to pass on the floor," Mulvaney said. "So is it going to
solve the problems on taxes and spending and healthcare? No, but it's going to
help folks in every district, help small businesses, and I think that's one of
the things that you can point to as a success of the 112th Congress."