Politics

Conservative Lawmakers Push Abandoned Tool as Way for Trump to Slash Spending

Trump President elect fair slash spendingConservatives who are unhappy with the $1.3 trillion spending bill signed last month by President Donald Trump want the president to ask Congress to rescind some of the funds it authorized.

“I’m very supportive of the White House and our leadership engaging on this,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said Monday of the rescission process in a statement to The Daily Signal.

“It’s no secret that Washington spending is beyond out of control,” Meadows said, “so any avenue we can use to meaningfully address the issue should certainly be considered and would be a welcome development.”

“The bill is too big, it spends too much money,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., told “Fox Business Sunday.” “It’s money we don’t have.”

Referring to Trump, Blackburn added: “He understands that we are borrowing this money. We’re borrowing about 35 cents on the dollar at this point, and he understands that this puts us in the queue for trillion-dollar deficits.”

“In true Donald Trump fashion,” she said, “he’s going to do something about it.”

Conservative lawmakers, among them Blackburn and Meadows, want Trump to send a so-called rescission request to Congress to cancel spending that the legislators previously approved in the budget.

Ninety Republican members of the House voted against the 2,000-plus-page omnibus bill, as did 23 Republican senators.

John Czwartacki, director of communications at the Office of Management and Budget, told The Daily Signal in an email that the White House agency is helping to craft the request.

“We are working on a package of wasteful spending to rescind that should be ready at the end of the month,” Czwartacki said. “It’s important to note that this is nondefense discretionary spending that the president was not happy with.”

To start the rescission process, the president must send a request or requests to Congress. Once he does so, Congress has 45 in-session days to act.

Rescissions are introduced as legislation in both the House and Senate and referred to a committee; they may be thrown out if the committee does not act in 25 days.

In the House, debate on a rescission package is limited to two hours; in the Senate, debate is limited to 10 hours, according to a report from the Conservative Partnership Institute.

The process cannot be used to cut mandatory spending, including for entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and food stamps.

Rescission is protected from the filibuster, meaning a simple majority in each chamber may decide to rescind funds.

Rescission requests used to be commonplace, according to Paul Winfree, director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

“Every president between [Jimmy] Carter and [Bill] Clinton sent up tons of the rescission requests,” Winfree told The Daily Signal in an interview.

“In 1999, Clinton sent off three different rescission requests,” he said. “I think that there were a couple years in the Reagan administration where he sent up more than 200 rescission requests. It used to be a fairly common thing.”

Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, however, did not make any rescission requests to Congress, Winfree said.

Allen Schick, who teaches at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and previously was a senior specialist at the Congressional Research Service, said President Ronald Reagan used the rescissions process to request over “$23 billion in cancellations shortly after he became president, and Congress rescinded more than 65 percent of his request.”

“Reagan did it, [George H.W.] Bush did it, Clinton did it, and they did it all the years that they were in office,” Winfree said, adding:

If you think about it, it makes sense because if … something happens, there’s a change in demand, lots of real world things happen, and … the administration, being a good actor, may turn back to Congress and say, ‘You know, we thought we needed so many [of] X, and it turns out we don’t, so take your money back, do whatever it is that you want to do with that.’

In a similar effort to curb spending, some lawmakers also say they want to pass an amendment, with a vote expected this week in the House, requiring that Congress not spend more than it brings in.

“A balanced budget amendment has been one of the highest priorities of my tenure in Congress,” House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said in a written statement. “A constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget would finally bring discipline to federal spending and would benefit generations to come.”

For the amendment to pass, it would require approval by three-fifths of both the House and Senate.

A group of leaders in the conservative movement called the Conservative Action Project released a memo Monday decrying the omnibus spending bill.

The memo calls on Congress to “never again” pass an “omnibus boondoggle,” and urges Trump to “never again” sign such a spending bill.

Among those signing the memo were Edwin Meese III, who served as the nation’s 75th attorney general under Reagan, and Donald J. Devine, who was director of the Office of Personnel Management under Reagan.


From - The Daily Signal - by Rachel del Guidice

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