Trump taps conservative SC Rep. Mulvaney as budget chief

FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2016, file photo, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., center, leaves Trump Tower in New York. President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Mulvaney as his budget director, naming a tough-on-spending conservative and an advocate of balancing the federal budget to the important post. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2016, file photo, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., center, leaves Trump Tower in New York. President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Mulvaney as his budget director, naming a tough-on-spending conservative and an advocate of balancing the federal budget to the important post. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump has tapped South Carolina GOP Rep. Mick Mulvaney as his budget director, naming a tough-on-spending conservative and an advocate of balancing the federal budget to the important post.

An official on Trump’s transition team, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter before it is officially announced, confirmed Trump’s pick Friday evening.

Mulvaney, 49, was elected in the 2010 tea party wave and is a founder of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, whose members pushed former Speaker John Boehner from power and have caused heartburn for current Speaker Paul Ryan. He is one of the more hard-charging members among House conservatives.

As director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mulvaney would be responsible for crafting Trump’s budget and overseeing the final issuance of major regulations. Mulvaney has taken a hard line on budget matters, routinely voting against increasing the government’s borrowing cap and pressing for major cuts to benefit programs as the path to balancing the budget.

Actually balancing the federal budget requires deeper spending cuts than the GOP-controlled Congress can probably deliver on, especially if Trump prevails on revenue-losing tax cuts and a big infrastructure package next year.

Mulvaney met with Trump in New York last week. His nomination would require Senate confirmation.

Other congressmen to take on the budget post include David Stockman, R-Mich., Ronald Reagan’s first OMB director, and Leon Panetta, who ran the budget office during Bill Clinton’s first term. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, was one of George W. Bush’s OMB directors.