May 23, 2017… Day 124

Brennan talked to Congress. Mick Mulvaney talked to reporters at the White House.




Questions reporters asked Mick Mulvaney today:

  • So President Trump is sticking to his campaign promise not to touch Medicare or Social Security retirement benefits, but not Medicaid. So how does he intend to square that with his supporters?
  • Director Mulvaney, you mentioned the previous administration, the stagnant growth, and that the deficit has actually doubled since 2008 from about $10 trillion to $20 trillion. But a member of that administration, Larry Summers, today actually went on the attack. I’m curious, how do you respond to his assessment of the budget?  He called it “simply ludicrous,” and that the administration is double-counting the tax cut and the benefit from the growth.
  • Airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.
  • Thank you, Director. Can you characterize the treatment of climate science programs and cuts to those? And do you describe those as a taxpayer waste, if you do not cut them?
  • What about climate science?
  • Thank you, Director. I’m just wondering — you were talking about making assumptions. What are your assumptions and expectations for the budget in reference to the wall? I mean, Congress really seems to have come on the record and say they’re not in support of funding it. So what are your expectations?
  • You said you reject the premise of the economy not growing at 3 percent.
  • Did you set the 3 percent target and then reverse-engineer the figures in order to achieve that? Give us the math?
  • You’re saying that U6, a measure that goes back to 1994, you can have it equal to U3 measure?
  • Director Mulvaney, thanks for doing this. On the day that he came down the escalator, famously, and became candidate Trump, he said, “We’re going to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts. Have to do it.” I recognize that he’s going to be saving Social Security retirement, but he’s not saving Social Security disability insurance, which benefits more than 10 million Americans.  So is the President keeping his promise on that program?
  • So why do those individuals who presently receive SSDI receive less as a result of this budget?
  • Those people who should be getting, will they receive less?
  • So how are you going to determine who is getting it that shouldn’t be getting it? So many antifraud programs exist already.
  • But wouldn’t 42 million Americans benefit from SNAP?
  • Can you talk about provisions affecting federal employees and how to strengthen — your plans to strengthen the federal government?
  • Can you talk about the $1.6 billion for brick and mortar for border security? What are the American people going to see with that money?  Are we talking about more replacement wall, new wall? And if so, how much new wall?
  • A quick follow-up. Are you projecting out — a lot of this budget has to do with projections as many as 10 years out. Are you projecting out how much money you’re going to need in the following years to complete the President’s promise during the campaign?
  • I have an energy question for you. I wanted to ask about the SPR, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and the proposal to sell off half of the stocks.  How concerned are you that doing that would hurt domestic producers by pressuring prices lower? And does the administration plan to break with its agreement with other OECD nations to keep 90 days’ worth of oil supplies in reserves?
  • You touched on it, but I have a follow-up from yesterday. You said that you would be phasing in the work requirements. And I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about that process and how quickly you expect that to happen? And also, if you could, tell us what you would say to the able-bodied Americans you referenced who are saying, I want to work, but I can’t find work?


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