OMB Director Mulvaney and heads of various conservative groups were seated around the large table in the Vice President's ceremonial office when the pool was led in.
Mulvaney opened the discussion by saying he had just finished two days of testifying on the Hill about the president's 2018 budget proposal.
"It was a lot of fun," he said. "I don' t think I'm going to be getting a Christmas card from Bernie Sanders."
Now that the budget is behind us, Mulvaney said, the White House would be talking about the House and Senate budgets, the debt ceiling, tax policy and infrastructure.
"So there's just a few things going on," he said.
He then turned to others to make remarks. The pool heard remarks from Concerned Women for America's Penny Nance, ACU's Matt Schlapp, Kent Lassman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and (partially)
Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform before being led out after it was clear Pence was not coming.
Nance praised Trump's budget for "shifting funding away from the nation's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, to community health centers."
Schlapp noted that Mulvaney had a 98% rating from the ACU during his time in Congress and Pence's rating was 99%.
"I just imagine what he could've done with just one more point," Schlapp said of Pence.
Schlapp said there are three main areas that define a president's legacy: judicial appointments; keeping the country safe and the "major budget questions that saddle the next generations."
Schlapp said he's glad the Trump Administration is "now back talking about balancing the budget." And, as someone who ran out of the White House on Sept. 11, he emphasized the importance of defense spending and praised the administration for trying to increase it.
Lassman said the clear takeaway from the budget is that it's headed in the right direction – on balancing the budget and on the size and scope of federal agencies. The executive branch has two levers to drive the economy, he said: tax policy, on which the administration has to collaborate with Congress, and regulatory policy.
"The regulatory burden is one thing that the executive can always drive," Lassman said.
Before Mulvaney called on Norquist, he confessed that he sometimes would take Norquist's name tag at events to see if anyone would notice.
Norquist urged the administration to spend less and to "go for the most growth you can get" on tax policy.
Here's a full list of participants as provided by the White House.
Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
David Boaz, Cato Institute
Kent Lassman, Competitive Enterprise Institute
David McIntosh, Club for Growth
Adam Brandon, FreedomWorks
Mike Needham, Heritage Action
Pete Sepp, National Taxpayers Union
Tom Schatz, Citizens Against Government Waste
Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America
Matt Schlapp, American Conservative Union
Steve Moore, Heritage Foundation
Arthur Brooks, American Enterprise Institute
Lisa Nelson, American Legislative Exchange Council