Trump's White House budget chief pick gains key Senate backer

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The Senate on Thursday confirmed Rep. Mick Mulvaney to serve as President Trump's director of the Office of Management and Budget.

South Carolina's Mick Mulvaney will learn whether he will become the next American budget chief at a vote now scheduled for 7 a.m. Thursday.

Mulvaney was opposed by Democrats, but had broad support from Republicans, with one notable exception: Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain.

McCain said he generally gives deference and "the benefit of the doubt" to incoming presidents of both parties when it comes to their Cabinets and that "it is with great reluctance" that he is coming out against Mulvaney.

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Some Senate Republicans have been anxious Mulvaney might not go along with beefing up spending on military programs.

That makes him the gatekeeper for deciding most of the big questions of how the federal government operates.

For federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Education Department, the threat of Mulvaney's new job in the office that develops the executive budget, oversees agency performance and provides clearance for the executive branch's legislative proposals goes beyond the likelihood of a defense spending cut.

Connelly, who operatives say is close to Mulvaney and Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), announced his candidacy on Monday.

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House Budget Committee chairman, Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., said Mulvaney is a "tireless advocate" for a responsible budget.

"He voted to remove all of our troops from Afghanistan", McCain said. Cochran met with Mulvaney on Tuesday.

"I am hopeful he'll be able to move the needle in the right direction on entitlement reforms, tackling the nation's out-of-control spending and debt problem head on, to secure opportunity and prosperity for current and future generations", she said.

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