<img src = "https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2019/07/04/amash-gettyimages-1146793035_sq-7a7a35bc151f7181f8f88c4def76ee5e3ebb380f-s100-c15.jpg" data-original = "https: / /media.npr.org/assets/img/2019/07/04/amash-gettyimages-1146793035_sq-7a7a35bc151f7181f8f88c4def76ee5e3ebb380f-s100.jpg "class =" img lazyOnLoad "alt =" The Declaration of Independence, MP Amash Leaves The GOP  In public, this means that Republican lawmakers are forced to find artful ways to respond when asked what it's like to work with one of the government's negotiators.
One way is to be vague like Texas Senator John Cornyn, who took a long break before answering what role Mulvaney plays in the negotiations.
"Obviously he has the president's ear," Cornyn said, "and he's a fiscalist. "
Cornyn says this part is great, Mulvaney is i Washington is known for his focus on deficits during his term in Congress, and Cornyn generally agrees with the idea of tax-saving.
But on Mulvaney's bargaining power as a White House official?
"He does not have much experience in this field," said Cornyn. "Um – but people are also growing into their new jobs, so I'm not anticipating anything."
And sometimes the Republicans just sit with him at the table to play down his role completely. Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Committee, shifted the focus after a recent round of negotiations.
"But the leadership was the Minister of Finance."
If you ask Shelby directly about Mulvaney's role in these recent conversations, you often get an answer praising Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin instead.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., The top Democrat of the Senate committee, does the same. In a recent talk about Mulvaney, Leahy changed the subject to Mnuchin more than half a dozen times.
When Leahy was asked to speak directly to Mulvaney and not to Mnuchin, the goal of the budget negotiations was to reach a deal, avoid a spending battle, and avoid Keep government open – anything he could do confidently If the White House bargains him only with Shelby.
"Secretary Mnuchin understands this," Shelby said, before considering Mulvaney's story when he was still in Congress, how to block austerity measures. "People who have never voted for appropriation laws do not understand how that works."
Part of the frustration stems from the belief that Mulvaney has contributed to Trump's refusal to reach an agreement during the 35-day government break has been supported by both parties on several occasions.
The Republicans, however, do not want to criticize anyone whom Trump has entrusted with the negotiations. The most popular tactic for them is to completely ignore questions about Mulvaney – as well as the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Who responded with complete silence to direct questions on Mulvaney's role in recent budget negotiations.
Democrats were not so shy.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi of California and other Democrats still remember a collision with Mulvaney while serving in the house, and many do not trust him.
Pelosi was visibly frustrated after Mulvaney claimed that the Democrats were conducting budget talks calling for additional spending.
"Do we have to waste time on [Mick] Mulvaney's characterization of my utterances?" Pelosi asked.
She dismissed Mulvaney completely.
"Mulvaney is one of those people who shut down the government because they did not want to lift the debt ceiling," Pelosi said. "So he has no credibility in this area."
But many of Mulvaney's conservative friends blame his style and not his credibility for the clashes.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., is one of Mulvaney's closest friends in Washington.
"I love him, so I will not say anything that gets him in trouble," joked Scott. "Usually you understand what he says, you may not like what he says, but he does not have to be explained."
Scott says that this is only part of Mulvaney's unadorned demeanor, which sometimes leads to clashes in a conflicting city. Nuance is King.
"It's pretty concise and clear, and that's part of its appeal," Scott said. "And I'm sure that's part of what others like about him."
Regardless of what members of Congress think about Mulvaney, Cornyn notes one important point: Mulvaney does not have to worry about winning a popularity contest on Capitol Hill – all he has to do is satisfy his boss, President Trump.