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White House to Try Rescission to Cut Federal Spending

Monday May 7th, 2018   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 6:42am PDT   •  

4542732 - text of budget and scissors, concept of budget cut In a sign of how badly the increased spending contained in the 2018 omnibus spending bill that he signed into law on March 23 is going over with many in his political party, President Donald Trump is planning to try an almost never-used legislative procedure to try to retroactively cut $25 billion of spending from the $1.3 billion bill.

Robert Donachie of the Daily Caller discusses the plan:

President Donald Trump’s administration is going to roll out a recision package in the coming weeks that will roll back $25 billion from the $1.3 trillion spending bill Congress passed in April, a source with first-hand knowledge told The Daily Caller News Foundation….

The White House was expected to release a recision package — a request to rescind funds Congress previously appropriated — Tuesday, but that did not materialize. The administration was reportedly looking at rolling back between $30 and $60 billion from the $1.3 trillion spending bill.

So it is already not looking good for the prospects to roll back a portion of the net spending increase that passed in the omnibus spending bill. That spending increase was over $100 billion more than what President Trump had outlined in his 2018 fiscal year budget proposal, so attempting to trim the bill by just $25 billion would be falling far short of the amount by which the discretionary portion of the U.S. government’s expenditures increased above what President Trump had indicated he wanted for the year.

Partly, that’s due to the U.S. government’s 2018 fiscal year already being more than half over. It began on October 1, 2017, and will run through September 30, 2018. Since we’re now in May 2018, much of that money will already have been spent.

Worse, there’s no guarantee that the U.S. Congress, which was all too willing to hike its spending to cut deals to get the budget passed, will follow through on what it would need to do. Donachie describes what would happen once the White House sends a rescission request to the Congress:

A recision package would make its way from the White House to the House and Senate appropriations committees, where lawmakers would have up to 25 days to amend, approve or shoot down the president’s proposal.

If lawmakers on the respective appropriation committees fail to do something within the 25 day timeframe, the package would likely make its way out of committee, where the full House and Senate bodies would have the opportunity to act.

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.

Without the approval of a simple majority in both the House of Representatives and Senate, that latter outcome would represent the most likely outcome, in which the whole exercise would be little more than political theater.

If President Trump is really serious about putting on more than a show in making the Congress consider a rescission package, he will need to pack it with examples of the U.S. government’s most outrageously wasteful spending that provides regular Americans with little-to-no benefit. That’s the only way to make such retroactive spending cuts too difficult for the elected politicians of Washington, D.C., to avoid acting upon without consequences from the voters in this election year.

We’ll see what happens. If it ever happens.

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May 2018