House Accepts Rescinding Pennies From Giant $1.3 Trillion Omni

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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  • The House of Representatives voted Thursday to claw back $15 billion in spending that it had previously approved.
  • The spending had been approved in the $1.3 trillion government funding bill signed by President Donald Trump in March.
  • The vote was along party lines.

House lawmakers agreed late Thursday evening to a deal that would claw back $15 billion in previously appropriated spending.

The House voted 210-206 along party lines to roll back the funds from the massive $1.3 trillion March spending bill that President Donald Trump signed into law earlier this year. (RELATED: Here Is What Is In The $1.3 Trillion Massive Spending Bill)

The president asked lawmakers to rescind that amount last month, targeting a federal loan program intended to give a boon to fuel-efficient, green energy automobiles and expired disaster relief funds. In total, the White House asked Congress to roll back less than four-tenths of a percent from what the federal government will spend this year.

Trump urged members Tuesday to consider the recision proposal, arguing it is what was needed to “get our government back on track.”

“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 in late March when he signed the Republicans’ spending bill.

House leadership is applauding the president’s proposal, calling the move a nod to fiscal conservatism and protecting the American taxpayer.

“The President’s rescissions request is a straightforward approach to begin cleaning up a bloated federal budget and respecting hardworking taxpayer dollars,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement.

House Democrats are calling out Republicans for passing the rescission package and claim — much like they did in the lead up to the vote — that conservatives are stripping children’s health insurance to save a few federal dollars.

Democrats are upset because roughly 50 percent of the administration’s requested rescissions come from two accounts within the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — $7 billion the White House claims are funds that cannot be or won’t be spent under law and an additional $2 billion in contingency funds.

Congressional Democrats repeatedly called on Republicans to fund CHIP last November when the program’s funding expired. Republicans later offered Democrats a six-year extension of CHIP in exchange for their vote on a bill to keep the government funded, but Democrats turned it down in order to secure legal protections for 800,000 illegal immigrants, known as DREAMers, and members of their families.

Ultimately, Democrats shut down the government for a weekend and did not secure funding for the CHIP program.

Lawmakers agreed to a 10-year extension to CHIP funding in early February. That deal included $7 billion towards community health centers and $6 billion to deal with opioids and mental care and other provisions. (RELATED: Didn’t Democrats Already Vote To Rescind CHIP Funding?)

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scored the administration’s proposal in early May and found that no CHIP recipient would lose their health insurance under the roll back. The report also found the rollback would have little net-effect on spending.

Over the 10-year horizon, the cuts to CHIP will constitute a $1.1 billion roll back in federal spending, which some conservatives compare to the annual federal spending that already tops $4 trillion.

The proposal now makes its way to the Senate, where it is unclear whether or not senators will agree upon the changes.

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