January 24, 2017

Senator Hassan Questions OMB Nominee on his Support for Government Shutdowns; Stressed Importance of Medicaid Expansion as Tool to Combat Substance Abuse

Senator Hassan Questions OMB Nominee on his Support for Government Shutdowns; Stressed Importance of Medicaid Expansion as Tool to Combat Substance Abuse

Senator Hassan Also Presses Mulvaney on Federal Funding for Planned Parenthood and His Skepticism on Climate Science

Click here for video of Senator Hassan questioning Congressman Mick Mulvaney.

WASHINGTON - In today's confirmation hearing for Congressman Mick Mulvaney, President Trump's nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Senator Maggie Hassan questioned the Congressman on his support for government shutdowns and stressed the importance of Medicaid expansion as a tool to combat the substance abuse crisis in New Hampshire. The Senator also pressed Rep. Mulvaney on his opposition to funding for Planned Parenthood and his expressed skepticism of climate change data.

Highlighting the negative consequences the 2013 government shutdown had on the State of New Hampshire, Senator Hassan said, "I would ask you in light of your earlier comments that have been highlighted here already about the shutdown being good policy, just to understand that when people actually live through it, it's not an abstract concept or idea. It really hurts. It hurt our economy. And it hurt a lot of people... So do you still really think it was good policy?" After Congressman Mulvaney conceded that government shutdowns are an "ineffective tool," Senator Hassan added, "It is not only an ineffective tool, it hurts people. I think our job here is not to just refer to it as 'unfortunate,' but to acknowledge that it impacts real people."

Pressing Congressman Mulvaney on the Trump Administration's support for cuts to Medicaid, Senator Hassan stated, "Thousands in New Hampshire are now getting coverage for substance use disorder treatment, and experts have said [Medicaid] is the absolutely critical tool for addressing this epidemic. Medicaid expansion is now under attack from this administration as we talk about - as the administration talks about repealing the Affordable Care Act. Then there is this discussion of block granting Medicaid which would likely result in a 20% to 30% cut in Medicaid funding to states within just a few years which has raised concerns from Republicans as well as Democratic Governors." Congressman Mulvaney defended his past votes in support of cutting Medicaid.

Senator Hassan also pressed the Congressman on his record of opposing funding for Planned Parenthood, "One of the most trusted family planning and reproductive health providers in the country is Planned Parenthood. In your potential role at OMB, the goal is to assess the quality of agency programs and procedures. So I'm troubled with your record that indicates a bias and opposition to programs that impact women's health. Programs like the Title 10 family planning program help provide essential family planning and preventive health services to women nationwide. As a steward of good government, I believe that when we award grants to organizations, we need to take in account which organizations are best able to provide the services. I think funds should be awarded based on a provider's ability to serve patients and not based on an ideological or politically motivated agenda... I hope that we can get to making data driven decisions around settled law and recognize the importance of this particular provider nationwide to the women of our country."

Finally, Senator Hassan addressed Rep. Mulvaney's statement earlier in the day expressing skepticism about climate change data, "I'm a little concerned with that because first of all OMB Director does have a significant role to play when it comes to climate change. You need to know the science in order to allocate the budget effectively. You need to know the science in order to run the OIRA [Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs] process effectively. You just had a really good exchange with Senator Portman about the importance of data and evidence-based policymaking. Here's what scientists say. They are clear in their understanding of the climate change science. The American Association for the Advancement of Science says the scientific evidence is clear. Global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now and it is a growing threat to society. The American Geophysical Union said humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years. The American Meteorological Society it is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century if human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says warming of the climate system is unequivocal and human influence on the climate system is clear. So I'd like to understand what you find unclear about this science that these scientists have been so clear about and why you or I with our non-scientific backgrounds would be qualified to disagree with these climate scientists in their area of expertise."