WASHINGTON — President Trump’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney on Sunday defended the administration’s budget blueprint for not reducing the federal deficit — despite his past reputation as a deficit hawk member of Congress.
"Keep in mind, the administration is different than members of the Hill, the members of the House and the Senate," Mulvaney told host Chuck Todd on "Meet The Press."
"Every House member, which I used to be, has a constituency," said Mulvaney. "We have a group of people we represent. Senators represent the whole state. There’s also a lot of special interests, a lot of lobbying involved. The president’s not beholden to any of that. The president represents everybody."
Mulvaney estimates that if the president’s budget were to be approved by Congress, that the deficit would remain the same as it is now. On the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump repeatedly promised to balance the budget "quickly," and at one point, even made a pledge to get rid of the federal debt in eight years.
Mulvaney also pointed out that the current proposal is more of a spending outline, and that the administration will be introducing a full budget in May, with a longer budget window and other policy changes.
"We won’t be able to balance the budget this year but we are working on trying to get it to balance within the 10 year budget window, which is what Republicans in the House, the Senate have traditionally done the last couple of years."
He did not know about a timeline for when the administration would be able to introduce a balanced budget.
"We don’t know yet," he said. "We don’t know what health care reform will look like, what it will do to the budget. We don’t know what tax reform will look like, will do to the budget. We haven’t finished the infrastructure program yet. Those are the really, really big picture items that we won’t know more about for a couple months.”
While on "Meet The Press," Mulvaney also addressed the backlash to President Trump's assertions that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower before the election, and the president's subsequent comment to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, "at least we have something in common."
"I thought it was sort of tongue in cheek," Mulvaney said. "But again, I'm the numbers guy."
And he said he doesn't believe allegations without evidence damage the president's credibility.
"No, no. Listen, those of us who see and work with the president every day believe him, trust him, have no difficulties like the folks in the press do."