Bergman Questions Budget Director Mulvaney on President Trump's FY19 Budget
Washington - Today, the House Budget Committee held a hearing with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney to discuss the priorities of the Administration for FY 2019. Congressman Jack Bergman had this to say after questioning Mulvaney on military funding, cuts to GLRI, and reducing waste in the federal government:
“There are tough budgetary decisions that need to be made here in Congress, and President Trump's budget request provides a blueprint for how the Administration proposes we do that. But it is Congress, not the Executive Branch, that decides how federal dollars are spent. Congress has the final say on how the federal government is funded, and as a member of the House Budget Committee I have the unique opportunity of being involved in that process at multiple levels.”
During his line of questioning, Rep. Bergman stressed the importance of Great Lakes funding to Director Mulvaney:
"Michigan’s First District has more Great Lakes shoreline than any District in the nation. The Great Lakes are truly our lifeblood - not only for the people in our communities, but also our economies. 20% of the worlds fresh surface water reside in the Great Lakes. They are a global and natural resource that we need to preserve and make sure remain healthy. A year ago the President's budget cut the GLRI to zero. Working with colleagues we were able to get the funding level back to it's original $300 million. In this budget it concerns me that there is a 90% cut. I will work with the administration and my colleagues to make this number realistic so that we do not make a mistake with this 90% cut."
Congressman Bergman discussed several other issues with Director Mulvaney and had the following to say regarding today's hearing:
On National Security and DOD Audit:
"I’ve said many times that the United States government must be held accountable for every penny of taxpayer money received and spent – especially when committing resources to the defense of our nation. As we work to rebuild our military, it's important that we ensure every dollar is spent wisely. I asked Director Mulvaney for an update on the Pentagon Audit for which I have long been an advocate. The Director informed me that last week the audit discovered about $800 Million in improper payments. The audit is working, and it's necessary to continue the work being done to audit DOD.
"No part of the country requires more investment in infrastructure like rural America, and I applaud the Administration for focusing on this issue. Rural connectivity is vital to the First District's residents, especially our agriculture community. I will continue to work with the Administration and my colleagues in the House to bring high-speed broadband to our rural communities. Additional focus on updating the Soo Locks is also vital, and I will work to ensure the Soo Locks Modernization Act is at the forefront of the infrastructure discussion. To enact a 21st Century infrastructure plan, we must find bipartisan solutions."
On the Opioid Crisis:
"We are having roundtables through the district to discuss how we handle the addiction crisis. I asked Director Mulvaney for clarification on how the Administration planned on implementing and allocating the suggested $20 billion to combat the opioid crisis. Director Mulvaney ensured me that a portion of the Administration's budget proposal would be spent on additional NIH programs to develop non-addictive alternatives to opioids, additional methadone treatment funding for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as a campaign to discourage the use of opioids.
On Essential Air Services:
"As I've said before, the President’s proposed cut in funding for Essential Air Services fails to take into account communities like the ones in our district. Airports depend on Essential Air Services to help them boost industry, economic stability, tourism, and mobility in the Upper Peninsula and throughout the First District. I will fight for full Essential Air Services funding as Congress moves through the budget process. "