Mick Mulvaney budget press conference

Andrew Harnik | AP Photo

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Speaking at the Trump administration’s daily press briefing, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney held steady under fire from the press with accusations that the Trump budget blueprint is “hard-hearted.”

“We now have an America First president, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone we have an America First budget,” Mulvaney said, explaining how anyone paying attention to the president’s campaign rhetoric should not be surprised with the contents of the discretionary budget. 

The response to the Trump administration’s budget from liberals and progressives has played out fairly predictably. That is, the Trump administration is being accused of literally killing people by cutting funding to particular government assistance programs.

Among the more controversial provisions is the complete reduction of $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which some states elect to fund community programs designed to help the poor and elderly — programs like Meals on Wheels.

Mulvaney answered charges that the budget blueprint is heartless and cuts programs that are meant to help the poor, by pointing out how these programs are ineffectual or wasteful.

“Here’s what I can tell you about CDBGs because that’s what we fund. We spent $150 billion on these programs since the 1970s,” Mulvaney said. “The CDBGs have been identified as programs since the second Bush administration as ones that were not showing any results.”

In 2005, President George W. Bush sought to eliminate or consolidate several community development programs, attempting to cut what was then a $4.7 billion program by as much as 50 percent. President Trump’s budget eliminates the federal block grant program entirely, devolving community programs to state and local governments.

“We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good,” Mulvaney said of the cuts.

“I cannot defend that anymore, we cannot defend that anymore. We’re $20 trillion in debt,” he added.

Mulvaney also said that, in his view, this is a compassionate budget because the hard-earned wages of American workers will no longer be taxed and squandered.

The message from the Trump administration is that this is a budget that considers both the recipients of government assistance, and the taxpayers who are paying for that assistance.

“I think it’s fairly compassionate to go to [taxpayers] and say ‘look, we’re not going to ask you for your hard-earned money anymore,’ single mom of two in Detroit … unless we can guarantee to you that that money is actually being used in a proper function,” Mulvaney argued. 

“That is about as compassionate as you can get.”

Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer
and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in Politics and Economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are Conservative Political Philosophy, the American Founding, and Progressive Rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.