Donald Trump said during his presidential campaign not to touch Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, but Trump’s new budget director says he’s working on getting the president to “look at” entitlement reform.
“There are ways that we can not only allow the president to keep his promise but to help him keep his promise by fixing some of these mandatory programs,” said Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, on Hugh Hewitt’s conservative radio show Monday.
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Mulvaney said he’s been attempting to “socialize the discussion” with the White House about making cuts to the popular retirement programs. “I think people are starting to grab it,” said Mulvaney.
“As soon as the 2018 spending budget is done at the end of next week, I’m hoping to put together something for the president to look at on the other pieces of entitlement spending, or mandatory spending,” he said.
Mulvaney argues that the president can keep his campaign promise and still enact entitlement reform by framing the act of saving Social Security, and that the replacing Obamacare is a good place to start.
“Clearly, you can help fix and solve Medicaid as part of this larger Obamacare replacement, right, that the two things are tied together. So if we get Obamacare replacement right, it might also allow us to fix Medicaid,” Mulvaney said.
During his confirmation hearings in January, Mulvaney told members of the Senate Budget Committee he was committed to advising President Trump to make “difficult decisions today in order to avoid nearly impossible ones tomorrow” on entitlement reform.
Many Republicans support making cuts they say will ensure the programs’ long-term solvency, a platform then presidential candidate Trump rebuked during the 2016 election.
“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” said Trump in 2016.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus more recently tempered Trump’s stance ahead of his inauguration saying, “I don’t think President-elect Trump wants to meddle with Medicare or Social Security.”