Some Republican senators see acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as an impediment to reaching deals on important budgetary matters, The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports. Mulvaney, a former House Freedom Caucus stalwart, is putting a firmly conservative stamp on Trump administration policy, and that may make it harder to reach a bipartisan agreement on spending levels, raise the debt ceiling and avoid a government shutdown in the fall.
“There is a feeling that the Freedom Caucus may be on the wane in the House, but it’s on the ascendency in the West Wing,” one Republican senator told Bolton.
Lawmakers are frustrated about the lack of progress on a disaster relief package and talks to raise the spending caps for next year’s budget. Some see Mulvaney as a prime mover behind White House intransigence on the issues.
The potential $2 trillion infrastructure plan discussed by Trump and Democratic leaders may serve as a case in point, Bolton said. Mulvaney was quick to pour cold water on the lofty proposal, telling The Washington Post, “Is it difficult to pass any infrastructure bill in this environment, let alone a $2 trillion one, in this environment? Absolutely.”