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OMB Director Mick Mulvaney Discusses the Trump Administration's Regulatory Reform Efforts

The following is an excerpt from remarks delivered by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on The Path Forward of Regulatory Reform held at CEI on Monday June 26, 2017. View his full remarks here or in the video below.

For those of you who know what [the Office of Management and Budget] OMB does, congratulations. You’re one of the few. … I was talking to one of my predecessors. He said the cool thing about OMB is that nobody outside the Beltway has ever heard of it, and very few people inside the Beltway knows what it actually does. And we like it like that.

Neomi [Rao] is going to be the person running regulatory affairs for us. So where the rubber meets the road, when we do this kind of stuff, she is going to be doing it.  

I knew it was important to the president early on when he made that very high profile name. Why is it important to him? … If we do not figure out a way to get back to 3 percent sustained economic growth, we’re pretty much done for. You cannot continue to run this country the way it’s been run for the last 30-40 years at 1.9 percent economic growth. It doesn’t sound that big of deal between 2 percent, 3 percent, but when you look at it over the course of 10 years or 20 years, the differences between those two averages are absolutely astounding.

We’ve actually done a little back-of-the-envelope analysis at OMB, looking back as to what the world would have looked like today if we had 3 percent growth over the last 10 years. The budget would very nearly be balanced today, depending on some assumptions you make, if we simply had 3  percent growth for the last decade. We have to have that. Otherwise, I don’t see a way out of the debt and deficit cycle that we are in. And I don’t see an end to the debt and the deficits. People are not willing to pay for the government that they have, but at the same time we’ve lied to them about what government really costs. [T]hat creates a disconnect, and the only way we solve that without tremendous social costs is to figure out a way to get to 3 percent growth.

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If you want to put people back to work, if you want to grow the economy, it’s almost impossible to do it without deregulation. What challenges do we face on that? What challenges are Neomi going to face on day one in office? Pretty simple. We have forgotten how to do this.

[W]e’ve sort of done temperature checks along the way with various agencies, and administrations, and do forth and secretaries.  I’m seeing again and again, we told them two things: We want you to slow down the new stuff that’s coming out of the pipeline, and we also want you to look back and clean the stuff off of the books. What we found out is we are pretty good at slowing stuff down in the pipeline. Okay? You can go to a government worker surprisingly and say “do less” and they can do that, but to go back and look backwards and say we want you to deregulate the stuff that you did in 1972, or 1978, or 1984, we don’t do that very well. We have forgotten how to do that.

[B]y the way, we’ve got some great folks at OMB, who have been here for 30 years. If you’ve been here for 30 years, you got here in 1987. You’ve never really been asked to deregulate anything. We are trying to use muscles within the federal government that haven’t been used for more than a generation, and we are trying to ask people who simply haven’t done this before to learn how to deregulate. And it’s been hard. It really has been.

I was overwhelmingly pleased when I got to OMB. I’ve met maybe 200 of the 500 people who work with me at the Office of Management and Budget. I think with one or two exceptions, I have no idea what their politics is. Zero. I don’t know if they’re Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or don’t care, they are good government folks. And when I saw that, I said okay, there’s an opportunity, because if there is a group of people we can shift gears and teach how to deregulate the quickest, it would be the folks who are just interested in good government. As my friend Peter Welch, a self-described socialist, or near-socialist from Vermont, said, “Look, Republicans like small government. Liberals love big government. Everybody should hate bad government.”