Sen. John McCain announced this evening that he will vote against confirming Rep. Mick Mulvaney as OMB director, formalizing a position he has been leaning toward for weeks.
“It is with great reluctance that I come to the floor of the Senate to rise in opposition to the nomination of Congressman Mick Mulvaney,” the Armed Services chairman said. “Unfortunately, Congressman Mulvaney has spent his last six years in the House of Representatives pitting the national debt against our military.”
McCain criticized the fiscal hard-liner for voting for an amendment to cut $3.5 billion in defense spending, and for saying during his confirmation hearing last month that he didn’t remember that vote.
“I think anybody that treats our national defense with the seriousness it deserves would remember a vote like that,” McCain said on the floor.
The Arizona Republican then dinged the OMB nominee for supporting stiff budget cuts under sequestration, saying Mulvaney’s statements on defense spending suggest he is “detached from the reality of what these cuts have meant to military service members.” McCain also said he is concerned about Mulvaney’s “support for reckless budget strategies that led to a government shutdown.”
Despite McCain’s opposition, Mulvaney is expected to get enough Republican support for confirmation. Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) both said they plan to vote for Mulvaney, after previously expressing uncertainty about his nomination.
“I talked to him about his position on defense spending, the fact that he has never voted for a budget or a debt limit increase and what he said to me was that he understood his role as OMB director is very different from his role as a congressman from a conservative district in South Carolina,” Collins said. “And I thought that was a good answer.”