AP NEWS

Mick Mulvaney: Balance of federal power is ‘out of whack’

May 8, 2019

The balance of power between the legislative and the executive branches is “out of whack,” White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Wednesday, with lawmakers ceding power to bureaucrats where they shouldn’t and stomping on the president’s turf when they should butt out.

“It’s nearly impossible for the executive to be the executive,” Mr. Mulvaney said in remarks to The Federalist Society, a conservative group that bills itself as a defender of freedom and the separation of governmental powers.

Mr. Mulvaney spoke amid an escalating power struggle between House Democrats and President Trump over special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election meddling and the underlying evidence. Democrats also say Mr. Trump, who declared an emergency to tap border-wall funding, is threatening Congress’ power over the purse.

Mr. Mulvaney stuck to more obscure matters, citing Congress’ decision to block Mr. Trump from shifting certain duties of the Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works division to the Department of Transportation.

He also said it is too difficult to fire federal employees for malfeasance.

At the same time, Mr. Mulvaney said Congress is delegating power to the executive when it should defend its domain.

He cited the 2010 health care law, which ordered the health secretary to take action in a number of places, and mused that Congress’ abdication is what made Mr. Trump’s deregulation effort so successful.

“They’re just too lazy to make law, so they give it to the full-time bureaucrats,” Mr. Mulvaney said of Congress.

“At the same time, the power they take for themselves is just as wrong.”

Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to speak to the Federalist Society later in the day.

The group was at the center of both of Mr. Trump’s appointments to the Supreme Court, having helped the president craft his short list of nominees.