This week, the Senate will vote on the Trump administration’s rescissions request to cut spending by nearly $15 billion, titled the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act (H.R. 3). Under current law, the Senate has until June 22nd to approve the House-passed bill under expedited rules.
The Trump administration unveiled the first in a series of rescissions requests to cut federal spending. According to analysis from The Heritage Foundation, from 1974 to 2000, presidents have proposed approximately 1,200 rescissions, totaling over $77 billion. Congress approved 461 of those rescissions requests at a total of $25 billion. While presidents going back to Thomas Jefferson have used rescissions or impoundments, H.R. 3 is the largest request in history.
Under the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, Congress can cut wasteful spending that the president requests using expedited rules that bypass the Senate filibuster. This initial request strategically goes after unobligated funds before tackling the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill to help lawmakers build muscle memory on the process first.
The Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act is a good first step toward re-establishing fiscal responsibility in Washington, D.C. According to Justin Bogie, Senior Policy Analyst in Fiscal Affairs at The Heritage Foundation:
Passing President Trump’s rescission request would be a first step towards returning to fiscal sanity. It is not the long-term solution to the nation’s growing debt problem, but is a powerful tool towards reining in wasteful spending. Congress should pass the current rescission request and then work with the President on subsequent packages targeting spending increases included in the latest budget deal.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Russ Vought, deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, makes clear “The Trump administration and Congress must be responsible with each taxpayer dollar that comes to Washington.” Vought concludes:
Over the past decade, it’s become increasingly apparent that Washington has no appetite for fiscal restraint. Unless the federal government as a whole commits to cutting spending and letting the economy grow, bloated deficits and outrageous levels of debt will haunt future generations. President Trump stands ready to put our fiscal house back in order and put the American taxpayer first. Does the rest of Washington?
If the Republican Party is truly concerned with excessive spending and debt, the Impoundment Control Act provides the best immediate opportunity to roll back decades of overspending by the Washington Establishment. According to a recent Gallup poll, 77 percent of Americans are “a great deal” or “a fair amount” concerned with federal spending and the budget deficit. By reining in federal spending under the Impoundment Control Act, congressional Republicans can demonstrate to midterm election voters that they will govern responsibly and steward taxpayer dollars if re-elected to the majority.
Heritage Action: GOP Should Exercise Fiscal Restraint through the Impoundment Control Act
Heritage Foundation: A Crucial First Step Toward Fiscal Discipline: Why the President and Congress Should Pursue a Rescissions Package
Heritage Action: Congress Should Pass President Trump’s Rescissions Request
Heritage Foundation: Congress Is Trying to Ignore Trump’s Spending Reduction Request. It Needs to Act Now.
Heritage Action: Key Vote: “YES” on Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act (H.R. 3)