For anyone suggesting President Donald Trump is filling his administration with "yes men and women," meet Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., the newly confirmed director of the Office of Management Budget (OMB).
"Part of the job is saying 'No,'" Mulvaney told The Post and Courier on Friday.
Mulvaney, the self-described "most hated man in Washington" as the founder of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, is going to be the "bad cop" in President Trump's Cabinet.
"To a certain extent, I have to be the president's bad cop from time to time," Mulvaney told the paper. "I have to look people in the eye and tell them, 'No, we don't have enough money for that.' That is not a very popular thing to do in Washington.
"But I think the president knows — and I'm not sure what it says about my personality — that I'm going to be damn good at this job."
As a fiscal conservative, Mulvaney relishes the role, something that might clash with some of President Trump's big-ticket agenda items.
"I said, 'Holy cow, there's a job I'd love to have,'" Mulvaney told the paper.
"The OMB director puts together the budget. It handles every executive order. It is the clearing house for every single federal regulation. It has input into all the management of all of the federal agencies.... It is involved with everything. And I thought, 'that's where I want to be.'"
There is some big spending ahead in President Trump's agenda, including the Democrat-friendly infrastructure initiative and the much less popular Mexican border wall and bolstered military – all while leaving entitlement programs like Social Security untouched.
"The president's going to make the decisions," Mulvaney said. "But at the end of the day, the reason I wanted this job and took this job is I will be involved in that process. I am 100 percent confident the reasonable, fiscal conservative point of view will have a voice in this White House. And that means a great deal to me....
"I will be doing what they wanted me to do, and that is to try to fix Washington."
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