Sen. John McCain says he will vote against President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the White House’s powerful Office of Management and Budget.
McCain’s opposition to Rep. John M. “Mick” Mulvaney (R.-S.C.) may be a major problem because the emergence of just two more GOP opponents to Mulvaney will likely doom the nomination.
Mulvaney should be rejected, said McCain, because Mulvaney has opposed increases in defense spending.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) February 15, 2017
Mulvaney is already unpopular among some GOP legislators for his hard-line opposition to increased government spending. But he is also unpopular among GOP activists because of his backroom support in 2013 and 2014 for a huge amnesty and a greater inflow of salary-slashing foreign workers.
The GOP has only 52 Senators in the 100-member Senate, plus emergency tie-breaking support from Vice President Mike Pence. The loss of three GOP Senators, unless offset by rare Democratic votes, will sink Mulvaney’s chances. On Feb. 15, Trump’s nominee for Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination after being told he was opposed by at least four GOP Senators.
Mulvaney was nominated to run the Office of Management and Budget, which provides a huge part of the White House’s support staff. The office is little known outside the Beltway but is very influential in D.C. politics because it has enormous influence over the President’s spending plans, and also because the OMB director has the power to kill or modify new and existing regulations from federal agencies.
That regulatory power means he could have a huge impact on future agency regulations intended to fulfill Trump’s campaign promise of “Buy American, Hire American.” For example, most regulations governing companies’ ability to hire foreign contract workers, legal immigration and illegal immigration are prepared by the departments of state, of homeland security, of labor, and of justice. As OMB director, Mulvaney will oversee the approval or rejection of regulations that push companies to hire Americans instead of foreign workers.
In 2013 and 2014, Mulvaney quietly backed easy-migration policies favored by cheap-labor employees, including the agriculture companies in his rural South Carolina district.
President Barack Obama used his OMB director to sharply increase the annual inflow of white-collar and blue-collar contract workers, and made it easier for companies to hire foreign workers — such as H-1B workers — instead of American workers. So far, neither GOP legislators nor Trump’s deputies have rolled back those business-backed, anti-American regulatory changes.
Mulvaney’s office declined to comment for this article.
McCain announced his opposition to Mulvaney on Feb. 15 via Tweet, and a floor speech in the Senate, saying:
Congressman Mulvaney’s beliefs, as revealed by his poor record on defense spending, are fundamentally at odds with President Trump’s commitment to rebuild our military. And this record cannot be ignored in light of the significant authority exercised by the Director of OMB over the federal budget…
Beyond matters of defense and national security policy, I am also concerned about Congressman Mulvaney’s support for reckless budget strategies that led to a government shutdown …
This is about my conviction as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee that providing for the common defense is our highest constitutional duty, and that rebuilding our military must be the number one priority of the Congress and the White House.
Mulvaney backed the Budget Control Act of 2011, which painfully curbed federal spending until late 2015, amid many protests from McCain and other legislators who favor increased military spending. The budget cuts made Mulvaney unpopular among legislators, who are constantly pressed by their goals and their supporters to boost federal spending on many programs.
But a good OMB director needs much determination to control the federal urge to spend and spend, Rep. Tim Huelskamp told Breitbart News in December. “They say I’m an &ssh@le, well, he’s an &ssh@le, which is what you need in that job,” said Huelskamp, who lost his 2016 Kansas primary race to a candidate backed by his own GOP House leaders.
Also, Mulvaney is unpopular among the GOP’s base because he covertly supported migration-boosting bills in 2013 and 2014, which were strongly backed by a huge coalition of business groups and progressives, including President Barack Obama.
The GOP’s base was fired up in opposition to Senate-drafted that would have amnestied at least 11 million illegals, invited another 20 million immigrants into the country during the next decade, allowed universities to effectively sell Green Cards to foreign white-collar graduates, and allowed the president to massively increase the inflow of refugees. That 2013 legislation was drafted by McCain and seven other Republican and Democratic Senators.
Mulvaney didn’t specifically support McCain’s “Gang of Eight” bill, but he explained his pro-immigration enthusiasm to a camera crew preparing a documentary for PBS:
The thing that was encouraging was before the  meltdown on the southwestern border, it’s fair to say that there were a majority of Republicans who wanted to take it up now. I was absolutely convinced that there were Republicans and Democrats in the House that wanted to fix the problem. And that’s–that’s kind of invigorating.
In another part of the documentary, two of the leading amnesty advocates cheerfully described Mulvaney as a strong supporter, partly because the agriculture companies in his district prefer to use cheap immigrant labor instead of investing in labor-saving machinery.
Rep. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: “Is Mulvaney helping you?”
Rep. MARIO DÍAZ-BALART: “It’s big time. He wants yes!”
Rep. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: “He’s from South Carolina.”
Rep. LUIS GUTIÉRREZ: “This son of a [EXPLETIVE] has town hall meetings in Spanish. And then when the blanco [‘the white guy’] says, ‘Hey, Congressman, why did you have that meeting?’ [Mulvaney] says, ‘Don’t worry about it.’
In a March 2015 hearing, Mulvaney dismissed an expert witness who showed how only college-graduate immigrants pay enough in taxes to offset their use of welfare programs, and then argued for additional immigration of unskilled, welfare-dependant workers, saying:
We didn’t build the country on college graduates … That’s just not how it worked. When my great-grandparents came over, they were farmers, they were literally starving to death. They were not college graduates, they were not doctors and lawyers. They came over. That’s how we built the country.
Despite Mulvaney’s hidden efforts, the GOP’s pro-American base defeated business-backed amnesty efforts in June 2014, then defeated five incumbent Democratic Senators in November 2014, then defeated several establishment immigration advocates in the 2016 primary, and then ensured that Donald Trump won the 2016 GOP primaries and the 2016 election.