WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Senate confirmed congressman Mick Mulvaney as the next federal budget chief on Thursday (Feb 16), providing President Donald Trump with a key lieutenant for shrinking the size of the federal government.
Mulvaney was confirmed as director of the Office of Management and Budget by a vote of 51 to 49, along party lines. Republican Senator John McCain voted no, the only crossover vote.
The 49-year-old conservative congressman from South Carolina has advocated slashing spending on entitlement programmes like Social Security.
Democrats warn that Mulvaney's plans stand in direct opposition to Trump's campaign pledge to protect such benefits.
He will have broad influence over all aspects of federal spending, shaping the spending levels of government agencies.
Mulvaney is the 13th of Trump's Cabinet-level nominees to win confirmation.
Those already in place are the secretaries of state, treasury, defence, homeland security, health, education, transportation and veterans affairs, plus the attorney-general, CIA chief, US ambassador to the United Nations, and small business administrator.
Trump's labour secretary pick, fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination on Wednesday amid controversy over his labour practices and personal background.