Trump OMB Pick Responds to Questions on Pell Funding, Fair Value Accounting

By Brittany Hackett, Communications Staff

In response to questions submitted ahead of his hearing, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), said that he would examine all federal spending, including Pell Grant funding, when creating the fiscal year 2018 budget.

Mulvaney, who was elected to the House in 2010, will appear before the Senate Budget Committee today at 10:30 am ET for his confirmation hearing. If confirmed, the Tea Party Republican—who in the past has touted sequestration budget cuts as the “best existing option” to slow of federal spending—will lead the office responsible for creating Trump’s budget submission, which is expected by April.

Committee members raised concerns about Pell Grant funding and fair value accounting in questions sent to Mulvaney ahead of the hearing. When asked if he could “assure us that the Trump administration will not propose cuts in Pell Grant funding” as part of his efforts to address rising student debt, Mulvaney responded:

“I believe that all spending, and waste within all types of government spending, should be subject to the highest level of scrutiny. In developing the 2018 budget, we will look at spending across the entire Federal government and assess how to prioritize investments to achieve the President’s vision, including funding for college assistance programs.”

Mulvaney was also asked about a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on “fair value” accounting, which builds into budget legislation certain market risk penalties that ultimately result in higher cost estimates for federal credit programs. The conclusion of the GAO report was that fair value accounting poses significant risks to certain groups of people, including students and veterans, and is not an appropriate approach to estimate subsidy costs for the budget.

In his responses to questions on fair value accounting, Mulvaney said he is “familiar” with fair value accounting, but has not read the GAO report and intends to do so before today’s hearing.

“I am open to exploring alternative methods of evaluating Federal costs, including fair value for credit programs,” Mulvaney said in his responses. He also said he does not believe “that the choice of fair value would penalize program beneficiaries.”

Mulvaney was asked if he would commit to no diverting current OMB resources to implement a fair value accounting method. In response, he said, “If confirmed, I look forward to learning more about OMB’s responsibilities and the resources devoted to them, and would balance any new responsibilities against these core requirements.”

Stay tuned to Today’s News for more about Mulvaney’s confirmation hearing.


Publication Date: 2/2/2017

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