Posted by 26 June 2018
In Washington, Congress appropriates or authorizes money and the president has the authority to spend it. Or that is how it generally works. President Trump, however, has decided to exercise a little-used presidential power and ask Congress to reverse itself on spending.
In early May, President Trump’s budget director sent a letter to Congress asking it to rescind $15.4 billion in spending that the legislative branch had appropriated or authorized. This funding includes:
- $5.1 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that was never requested by states before the authorization to spend it expired on September 30, 2017
- $4.3 billion from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, a loan program that is no longer being used
- $523 million from a loan program that was authorized under the Obama Administration stimulus package
- $133 million from the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits program, which expired in 2012
The authority to request these rescissions is authorized under the 1974 budget law that governs the federal spending process. Under this law any member of Congress can introduce a bill to enact the president’s proposal, and Congress has 45 days to act. If it does not act, then the president’s proposal dies. The last time a president requested a rescission was President Bill Clinton in 2000.
On June 7, the House of Representatives passed HR 3, the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act, by a vote of 210-206. This bill contains the rescission requests made by President Trump. The Senate Appropriations Committee is now considering this bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he supports the president’s rescission request. Even with the slim Republican majority in the Senate, this bill is likely to pass if it is acted upon within the 45-day limit.
Do you support President Trump’s proposal to rescind $15 billion in federal spending? Or is the president being unfair in rescinding funding for children’s health insurance?