Mick Mulvaney urges checks on government spending and tax hikes as potential relief package looms

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President Trump’s former chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, wants Congress to “hard-wire” government cuts and measures to stop tax increases into the next economic relief package.

“We need to figure out a way to hard-wire into whatever comes next a way to reduce the size of the bureaucracy, reduce the size of the regulatory state, prevent the increase of taxes, and get a way for spending to get under control moving forward — because you’re not going to do it right now,” Mulvaney told CNBC on Tuesday, his first televised appearance since leaving the White House in March.

The former congressman and budget chief urged fiscal restraint and said cuts to offset Congress’s relief spending would be difficult for lawmakers to stomach. There would be pressure to raise taxes, he added.

“We don’t bring in enough revenue to pay for the things that most Americans actually want. Even if you say we want to cut things, the reason we haven’t is because it would be a massive political fight to do it. … There’s costs associated with what we’re doing, and when you spend $2 [trillion] or $3 [trillion] or $8 trillion, there’s going to be a cost to that at some point,” Mulvaney said. “It’s not free.”

Congress has authorized close to $3 trillion in rescue legislation in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week called for pumping the breaks on deliberations over a potential next relief package.

Mulvaney left the White House in March after he was replaced as chief of staff by Mark Meadows, a former Republican congressman from North Carolina. He has since been named the U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland.