President Donald Trump’s administration is going to roll out a rescission package Monday that will claw back $11 billion from what Congress has already agreed to spend, a GOP aide told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
TheDCNF was the first to report on May 2 the president was looking to roll back $25 billion, but that figure changed later in the week.
The final $11 billion rescission package is expected to touch mostly previously appropriated funds, like former President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill — funds from disaster relief bills no longer relevant (i.e., the area in question is no longer suffering from the effects of the disaster).
“While discussions are ongoing and the final number is still in flux, it’s important to note that this package will be the first in a series,” an administration official told TheDCNF.
There’s been a push on the part of some senators and congressmen not to repeal anything from the March 22 $1.3 trillion omnibus for fear they will be reneging on a commitment they’ve already made.
“I think there are members of Congress and leadership think that if they do that, they’d be going back on their word,” one House GOP aide told TheDCNF. “I know the administration is serious about rolling back spending.”
The hangups might be less in the House than the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remains focused on confirming conservative judges through Dec. 31 of 2018, the aide noted. McConnell has expressed willingness to enter into discussions with the White House but has repeatedly said he does not support backing away from the deal.
“Well, he (the president) agreed to it, you know. He was involved in the negotiation and signed the bill,” McConnell told Fox News in mid April. “You can’t make an agreement one month and say, ‘Okay, we really didn’t mean it.'”
The consensus among House conservatives seems to be “the bigger, the better” when it comes to the size of the rescission package, a House GOP aide told TheDCNF. They would like to see House conservatives score a victory for their constituents heading into the midterms. House conservatives also want to ratchet back spending after Congress passed a two-year budget agreement in February that raised federal spending some $300 billion dollars on top of the massive omnibus package.
Others believe cutting spending is a worthy goal to strive for but the opportunity to make fiscally conservative decisions should have happened during the omnibus negotiations.
“The time to deal with spending and make tough decisions was six weeks ago, during the omnibus — but that said, the problem is still there. Any avenue that we can use to cut spending should be strongly considered,” Ben Williamson, communications director for House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, told TheDCNF.
Trump proposed a 2018 budget that was, notably, $114 billion less in domestic spending than what Congress passed in March. It is important to note the rescission bill is focused on previously appropriated funds — some of which date back decades.
The president has expressed outrage about the deal McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan struck with Democratic leadership, characterizing it as a back door deal that illustrates Washington’s dysfunctional working environment.
“I will never sign another bill like this again. I’m not going to do it again. Nobody read it. It’s only hours old. Some people don’t even know what is in it. $1.3 trillion dollars — it is the second largest ever,” the president said on March 23 when he signed the Republicans’ spending bill.
The president even threatened to veto the bill only hours before he signed it into law, calling it a “waste of money.”
House and Senate lawmakers would have 45 days to consider the rescission package. If they disprove of the president’s proposal, the White House would then be forced release the withheld funds to the federal agencies.
The package would fail if either appropriations committee or the House or Senate bodies shoot it down. The one potential caveat working in the president’s favor is lawmakers can approve the package with a simple-majority vote.
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