Trump’s Pick to Lead Budget Office Has Tried to Defund Planned Parenthood

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Trump’s Pick to Lead Budget Office Has Tried to Defund Planned Parenthood

Ally Boguhn

Mulvaney is a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of stringently anti-choice conservatives who have sought to push Congress further to the right.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, was nominated by Republican President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). While in Congress, Mulvaney attempted to exploit federal spending measures to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.

“We are going to do great things for the American people with Mick Mulvaney leading the Office of Management and Budget,” said President-elect Trump in a statement on his selection. “With Mick at the head of OMB, my administration is going to make smart choices about America’s budget, bring new accountability to our federal government, and renew the American taxpayer’s trust in how their money is spent.”

According to its website, the OMB’s “central activity” is “assisting the President in overseeing the preparation of the Federal Budget and supervising its administration of Executive Branch agencies.” As the Washington Post reported, if confirmed as the head of OMB, Mulvaney will be tasked with overseeing Trump’s massive tax overhaul, which the the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates could cost over $5.3 trillion in the next decade.

Mulvaney is a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of stringently anti-choice conservatives who have sought to push Congress further to the right. The group recently released a list of 228 regulations it hopes President-elect Trump will address in his first 100 days in office, including revoking the Obama administration’s Title X clarification on family planning and Title IX protections for transgender and gender-nonconforming students. According to a press release, the House Freedom Caucus’ chairperson, Mark Meadows, has been in touch with Trump’s transition team “and intends to encourage and work with the new administration to roll back these regulations.”

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When the Freedom Caucus vowed in September 2015 to exploit federal spending measures by refusing to sign any bill that included funding for Planned Parenthood—though Congress only had until the end of that month to avoid a government shutdown—Mulvaney helped lead the charge. Before that session’s August recess, he circulated a letter, signed by 38 representatives including him, to congressional leaders to try to defund the reproductive health-care provider.

“Please know that we cannot and will not support any funding resolution—an appropriations bill, an omnibus package, a continuing resolution, or otherwise—that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood, including mandatory funding streams,” said the letter.

Mulvaney has also refused to vote to raise the debt ceiling, though he admitted in 2011 that he did not actually know what would happen if it was not allowed to be raised.

Mulvaney told the New York Times in 2015 that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had once warned him not to “play chicken” with the debt ceiling.

“Put this issue aside, I’ll play chicken with you every time,” replied Mulvaney, according to Times. “You think I am crazy, and I know you are not.”

Mulvaney, who is also a member of the Pro-Life Caucus, touts his firm anti-choice stance on his website, explaining that he is “committed to promoting legislation that will protect the unborn.” He has co-sponsored anti-choice legislation such as a “personhood” measure that would have banned abortion and many forms of contraception, as well as the 2015 Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which would have banned health-care providers from receiving federal funds if they also provide abortion care—even though the Hyde Amendment already bans most federal funding for abortions.