- REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
The head of President Donald Trump’s budget office said that people shouldn’t be so concerned about the deadline for Congress to fund the federal government.
Mick Mulvaney, the Office of Management and Budget director, said in an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood that he thinks the chances of a government shutdown are “very low,” and even if it happens, it may not be a big deal.
“I think the government, if you measure it in terms of the dollars out the door, about 83 percent of the government stays open in a government shutdown,” Mulvaney said. “Social Security checks go out, military still exists. The FBI still chases bad guys. I think the consequences have been blown out of proportion.”
The current short-term funding agreement for the federal government is set to expire on April 28, just five days after Congress returns from a two-week recess. In order to avoid a shutdown, which would close federal facilities such as national parks and even limit access to data from federal agencies like the Census Bureau, lawmakers would have to write and pass a funding bill before that time.
Mulvaney was a key player in the last shutdown in 2013 when the federal government was closed from October 1-16. Mulvaney and the Republican-controlled House supported funding bills that were rejected by the Democratic Senate, including one that delayed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for a year, in a game of political ping pong.
The OMB Director also said that pinning a shutdown on one part of the government is unfair.
“It takes three to tango, the House, the Senate and the White House,” said Mulvaney “And if they can’t agree, you have a lapse in funding. That’s the term that the Congressional Research Service uses for what the media calls a shutdown. It’s happened 17 times between 1976 and 1994. Those lapses in funding used to be fairly typical.”
Republicans control all three parts of the government Mulvaney mentions. However, the failure of the American Health Care Act – the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare – showed unified control of the government does not mean they will agree.