Jan 24, 2017

Trump budget pick clashes with Senate Democrats over entitlements

Carolyn Kaster / AP

President Trump's choice to head the Office of Management and Budget, Representative Mick Mulvaney, stood firmly by his belief that cuts to Social Security and Medicare were needed to save those programs.

As Bernie Sanders pointed out, this view can't be reconciled with President Trump's repeated and explicit promises not to cut Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security.

Nonetheless, Mulvaney pledged to stand by his own view and counsel the president on the need for cuts. Other key exchanges from the hearing:

  • Mulvaney recanted his previous claims that Social Security and Medicare were unconstitutional.
  • He said that using "Ponzi scheme" as a descriptor for Social Security was accurate because of "how the money flows" from workers to retirees, and because the program depends on there being more workers than retirees.
  • Senator Corker asked whether Trump's promises to not cut entitlements suggested that he may not know the magnitude of the problem with entitlements, and Mulvaney replied "I'd like to think that's why he hired me."
  • He stood by his vote in the House to prioritize debt payments in case of a debt ceiling breach, and argued that the debt ceiling was a useful tool to control spending. This is in contrast to Treasury Secretary-designate Mnuchin's comments last week, who took a more moderate position.

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Stocks fall 4% as sell-off worsens

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks fell more than 4% on Thursday, extending the market’s worst week since the financial crisis in 2008 following a spike in coronavirus cases around the world.

The big picture: All three indices closed in correction territory on Thursday, down over 10% from their recent record-highs amid a global market rout.

Coronavirus updates: California monitors 8,400 potential cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Watchdog opens probe into VA secretary over handling of sexual assault claim

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on Fox Business Network’s "The Evening Edit" on Jan. 7. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael Missal said Thursday he had opened an investigation into VA Secretary Robert Wilkie after lawmakers demanded an inquiry into his handling of a sexual misconduct report, the Washington Post reports.

Context: Wilkie allegedly "worked to discredit" the credibility of Democratic aide and veteran Andrea Goldstein after she reported last fall "that a man groped and propositioned her in the main lobby of the agency's D.C. Medical Center," a senior VA official told the Post.