OMB Director: ‘This is a hard-power budget’ (not a Big Bird budget)
posted at 4:01 pm on March 16, 2017 by John Sexton
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney defended the newly announced budget blueprint on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Thursday. Asked how he could defend deep cuts to the State Department to fund an increase for Defense, Mulvaney replied, “Make no mistake about it, this is a hard-power budget, not a soft-power budget.” He added, “That is what the President wanted and that is what we gave him.” The new budget would cut 28% from the State Department and add 9%, or $54 billion, to the Defense budget.
One of the proposed cuts which came up today is the decision to cut all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. During the segment, Mulvaney said one of the ways they approached the budget was to look at whether specific programs could be justified to taxpayers. “One of the questions we asked was can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no,” he said. “We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”
Last month, when word of Trump’s budget priorities was published by the NY Times, I wrote, “Every time someone threatens to cut PBS funding, progressives roll out Big Bird.” I still say that’s going to happen but already today Politico has a story up titled, “Can Big Bird survive Trump?”
The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled a budget proposal that would entirely eliminate federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the publicly funded radio and television entity that includes NPR, PBS and about 1,500 affiliated stations. The move would save about $485 million — about 0.0137 percent of total federal spending….
“There is no viable substitute for federal funding that ensures Americans have universal access to public media’s educational and informational programming and services. The elimination of federal funding to CPB would initially devastate and ultimately destroy public media’s role in early childhood education, public safety, connecting citizens to our history, and promoting civil discussions – all for Americans in both rural and urban communities,” said CPB President Patricia Harrison in a statement.
CPB is too Big Bird to fail, apparently, despite the fact that having a public broadcasting network in the age of 1,000 channels on cable makes zero sense.
Mulvaney was also asked today about the failure, thus far, to address entitlements. He replied, “The reason that entitlements are not addressed is that this is the budget blueprint. We’re doing the budget in phases this year, which is not unusual during a transition year.
“This is just the discretionary spending part of the budget. There will be a more full budget in May and that will include things like tax policy, health care policy and mandatory spending.”
So, hopefully, we will see some changes to entitlements for future retirees, but in the meantime, you can probably look forward to Big Bird once again making the case he needs those federal dollars to feather his nest.
Here’s Mulvaney’s appearance on Monring Joe: