Mulvaney, McCain Duel Over Military Budget

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) shared a heated exchange Tuesday over the importance of military budgets at Mulvaney’s Senate confirmation hearing to be the next director of the Office of Management and Budget. “I am deeply concerned about your lack of support for our military,” McCain said to the nominee after detailing a series of votes Mulvaney had taken to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan and Europe. “You’ve spent your entire congressional career pitting the debt against our military, and each time, at least for you, our military was less important.” Refusing to commit absolutely to raising the DOD budget, Mulvaney said, “The best possible way forward is to raise the topline defense number and have corresponding reductions in the non-defense discretionary.” Mulvaney also supported repealing the Budget Control Act of 2011, which places caps on all federal spending, and transferring funds from the overseas contingency operations account to the base defense budget “because I think it’s more transparent.” While reminding the committee that he voted against the BCA, Mulvaney, nonetheless, restated his commitment to deficit reduction. “We made a promise in 2011 as part of a debt ceiling increase to save money and I’m interested in keeping that promise,” he noted.