Budget Architect: “Waste of Money” to Research Climate Change

Director Mick Mulvaney of the Office of Management and Budget is reportedly one of the chief architects behind the newly-released White House budget proposal, and he isn’t shy about defending the deep cuts recommended in the plan. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Mulvaney was asked about President Trump’s proposal to slash the EPA’s funding and how it would affect governmental research on climate change.

“Part of your answer is focusing on efficiencies and focusing on doing what we do better. As to climate change, I think the President was fairly straightforward saying we’re not spending money on that anymore,” Mulvaney said. “We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that. So that is a specific tie to his campaign.”

Trump has suggested deep spending cuts to several government agencies, including the EPA, in his proposal for discretionary spending for Fiscal Year 2017. He has also announced his plans to eliminate at least 3,000 jobs at the EPA, a move that would by itself curtail much of the department’s regulatory enforcement power. He is also talking seriously about yanking U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement, which could save taxpayers in excess of half a billion dollars.

In his remarks on Thursday, Mulvaney said that Trump’s budget was in line with the theme of his candidacy.

“The President is absolutely going to keep his promises made on the campaign trail,” Mulvaney said. “He did not ask lobbyists for input on this. He did not ask special interests for input on this and he certainly didn’t focus on how these programs might impact a specific congressional district but we know that going into it. The message we’re sending to the Hill is, we want more money for the things the President talked about, defense being the top one, national security and we don’t want to add to the budget deficit.”

Specific to the EPA, Trump has spoken numerous times about his skepticism of the official line on climate change, putting him back on the firm footing that many moderate Republicans have abandoned. But really, this comes down less to what you believe or don’t believe about climate change and more to what you believe the federal government should or shouldn’t be doing with our tax dollars. Even climate change zealots have said the Obama administration’s efforts will do little to curb carbon emissions. Why should we spend billions on programs that do nothing to curb a problem that we don’t have?

Republicans aren’t going to pass this budget as it is, but if they even keep a fraction of Trump’s framework, it’ll be one of the biggest strikes for small government conservatism we’ve seen in a long time. And it will come from a president who mainstream conservative thinkers barely consider to be part of their ideological ranks. How interesting…

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