Mick Mulvaney: Washington's Definition Of A 'Budget Cut' Is A Joke


Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney vents about the idea that a 6% year-by-year increase in spending is considered a "freeze" in Washington D.C. budgets.

QUESTION: So, President Trump sticking to his campaign promise not to touch Medicare, Social Security retirement benefits, but not Medicaid. So how does he intend to square that with his supporters?

MULVANEY: Yeah, a couple of things about Medicaid, and this is one of my favorite stories to tell about Washington spending; keeping in mind, and I know that you all probably get this, but if you're watching this at home -- in Washington, D.C., if you spent $100 last year on something, OK, and we spend $100 on it this year on that same thing, in Washington people call that a cut. OK? $100 last year, $100 this year, y'all call it a cut.

In fact, I've seen several occasions where we spent $100 last year and $102 this year and many people will still call that a cut because the budget is hardwired by the Congressional Budget Office to go up every single year. And if the Congressional Budget Office says we spent $100 last year and we're supposed to spend $106 this year, for a lot of people anything less than $107 is a cut. In fact, I've actually heard $106 referred to as a freeze because it simply stays in line with the Congressional Budget Office.

A classic example of how Washington speaks differently than the world back home. So a couple of things about Medicaid. OK? There are no Medicaid cuts in the terms of what ordinary human beings would refer to as a cut. We are not spending less money one year than we spent before.

What we are doing is growing Medicaid more slowly over the 10-year budget window than the Congressional Budget Office says that we should or says that we will under current law. Why do we change it? We change it -- we change those -- those growth rates in Medicaid spending because of the American Health Care Act, which this president does support.

We've said from the very beginning, we support the House efforts; looking forward and are working right now with the Senate on working on what they're health care bill would look like. But we support the American Health Care Act and that does change Medicaid.

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