How the GOP learned to stop worrying and love spending

Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s budget director, faced a jarring question Sunday on Face the Nation: Why have Republicans given up trying to rein in spending? The show’s host, John Dickerson, compared it to Weight Watchers giving up on dieting. Mulvaney sort of challenged the premise, but not with excessive vigor.

“Well, you’re not giving up entirely on spending,” Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney was a leading spending hawk in Congress before he joined the administration, and the 2018 Trump budget he unveiled this fall was a remarkably hawkish document, calling for drastic rollbacks of spending in almost every nonmilitary area of government. But the Republican-controlled Congress mostly ignored it, and these days the party’s top priority is clearly tax cuts, with spending cuts relegated to maybe-down-the-road.

The Republican budget resolution that passed Congress on Thursday required no mandatory cuts whatsoever, even though it paved the way for tax cuts that would boost federal deficits by $1.5 trillion.