Don't worry: Trump's budget touchdown is coming
Not now, but sometime. President Trump gets it. As he tweeted, "[o]ur country needs a good 'shutdown' in September to fix mess!"
And he has the budget director to do it. As a congressman, Mick Mulvaney endorsed the idea of "prioritizing" spending. Following Mulvaney's Senate confirmation hearing, fellow republican John McCain blasted Mulvaney from the Senate floor:
Beyond matters of defense and national security policy, I am also concerned about Congressman Mulvaney's support for reckless budget strategies that led to a government shutdown. He made frequent attempts to diminish the impact of the shutdown by referring to it as a 'government slowdown,' or the more Orwellian term 'temporary lapse in appropriations.' There are few people whose views and record are more representative of the dysfunction that has gripped Washington for the last several years than Congressman Mulvaney.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the administration swallowed hard on the budget bill in hopes of getting enough votes to scuttle Obamacare.
Nonetheless, all isn't lost – the budget bill actually has some incremental progress, as Mulvaney told reporters.
The Office of Management and Budget director noted that GOP lawmakers had not given up on their push to defund Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that the spending legislation includes funding for the abortion provider.
"We have a complete defunding of Planned Parenthood as part of the healthcare bill," Mulvaney said. "Let there be no mistake about this administration's commitment to the pro-life movement."
Mulvaney also noted that the bill did not prevent President Trump from withholding cost-sharing reduction payments from insurance providers at some point in the future. Those payments are necessary to keep insurance providers from fleeing the Obamacare markets, but have proven controversial in the past because the Obama administration decided to provide the payments without consulting Congress.
"Nothing in this bill obligates us to make any Obamacare CSR payments at any point in this process," Mulvaney said. "We are not making any commitments in this bill."
I'm willing to give Trump, Mulvaney, and company the benefit of the doubt this time. Trump's tweet was directed to Chuck Schumer. I think he's signaling that unlike with Obama, a Trump-Down will be crafted to be as unnoticeable to the public as possible. Military pay, Social Security, tax matters, permits – unaffected. Maybe some grants will be delayed. The IRS could be furloughed. Every federal employee earning more than $150,000 could have some payless paydays.
And that what's frightening to Schumer and the Democrats and lot of moderate Republicans: a conservative-led shutdown where most Americans didn't notice anything.