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Trump’s Nominee to Lead OMB Wants Better Data

udget Director-designate Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017

udget Director-designate Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 // Carolyn Kaster/AP

If confirmed, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the White House budget chief said he wants the government to gather data from varying sources to better advise the president on economic and budgetary issues.

Speaking Tuesday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., criticized the government’s efforts to communicate with itself and share important data sets, suggesting bad data leads to bad policy decisions.

“We need to get data we can all use. In the age of big data, the government has all this data, but is incapable of using it because it can’t even talk to itself,” Mulvaney said, responding to questioning from Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Tom Carper, D-Del., “Sometimes, I think we use good data, sometimes, it’s not defensible.”

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If confirmed as the head of the Office of Management and Budget, Mulvaney said he’d make sure the agency, which oversees the preparation of the federal budget, would use “data not from source, but from multiple sources.”

Amid answering questions regarding his own tax issues and workforce policies, Mulvaney said he was displeased with reports that the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act was lagging behind in being implemented across government. The law requires 24 major federal agencies to upload spending data by May 2017 but the Government Accountability Office recently questioned whether agencies would make the deadline.

"The DATA Act is behind schedule, as I understand,” Mulvaney said. “We need to get data we can all use.”

In addition, Mulvaney said he was committed to strengthening federal cybersecurity efforts. After the Office of Personnel Management hack that exposed the information of more than 20 million federal employees and contractors, the White House played a lead role in shoring up cybersecurity hygiene across the government.

Mulvaney suggested he would attempt to improve upon those efforts.

“There’s real information out there that we need to protect, so I can give you the commitment to continue to try and improve the defenses in those areas,” Mulvaney said.

The Senate committee agreed not to hold a confirmation vote on Mulvaney until his federal background check, done by the FBI, was complete.

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