GOP congressman rips Mulvaney: Trump's budget 'presumes a Goldilocks economy'

Key Points
  • Rep. Mark Sanford says President Trump's budget "assumes a Goldilocks economy."
  • The White House expects sustained 3 percent gross domestic product growth.
  • OMB Director Mick Mulvaney says he's "stunned" about doubts that U.S. can grow at that pace.
Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C.
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

Conservative Rep. Mark Sanford has some doubts about the Trump administration's rosy economic projections.

At a House Budget Committee hearing Wednesday, the South Carolina Republican drilled Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney about the White House's expectations for gross domestic product growth. President Donald Trump's budget wish list released this week sets an objective of sustained 3 percent economic growth.

"This budget assumes a Goldilocks economy. And I think that's a very difficult thing" on which to base a budget, Sanford told Mulvaney, who also previously represented South Carolina in the House.

"It assumes that the stars perfectly align with regard to economic drivers."

The U.S. economy grew 1.6 percent in 2016.

Mulvaney defended the White House's projection earlier in the hearing, saying he was "stunned" about widespread doubts that the U.S. can achieve — and maintain — 3 percent growth. He argued that people would have to be "pessimistic" to assume such a level of expansion is "somehow unreasonable."

Sanford highlighted multiple possible problems in reaching sustained 3 percent growth. Among them, he contended that it would assume labor force growth and productivity growth that may not be achievable.

He argued that the necessary labor force growth would "require either radically opening immigration or a radical change to demographics."

While Sanford was doubtful about the growth projections, other Republicans on the House panel said they agreed with those expectations.