Several Republican senators are siding with President Donald Trump in his effort to get back $15 billion doled out to federal agencies but never spent and have introduced legislation in support of taking back the cash.
“Yes, a $15 billion spending reduction is a drop in the bucket compared to a $15 trillion debt,” Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said in a statement, The Hill reported. “But we have to start cutting spending somewhere.”
Other senators supporting the legislation include Republicans Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Joni Ernst of Iowa, David Perdue of Georgia, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas also supports the rescission, according to the Washington Examiner.
“A great advantage of a rescissions package is that Democrats are unable to filibuster it, which means that if Republicans stand together we can start cutting back on unnecessary spending,” Cruz said “We need to do this, and far more — Congress should take advantage of every opportunity to reduce our national debt, including saving money that doesn’t need to be spent.”
The absence of major leadership support for the proposal, known in budget-speak as a rescission, was noted Friday by FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon.
“Clearly, Senate rank and file are the ones concerned with reckless spending. If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not going to take up the White House’s proposal to impound unobligated funds, it is good to that know we have Sens. Lee, Paul, and others to stick up for American taxpayers,” he said in a statement.
McConnell has said that if the package passes the House, the Senate might consider it.
Earlier this month, the White House announced that it wants to take back $15.4 billion in spending that was approved in the past but never spent.
“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?” wrote Russ Vought, deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, on the official White House website.
Congress has an opportunity to cut $15 BILLION in wasteful spending by supporting @POTUS’ rescission package. Tell them it’s time to take this step toward fiscal responsibility!https://t.co/2TjVbTF4gK pic.twitter.com/JJK11UjLzv
— Americans for Prosperity (@AFPhq) May 26, 2018
In a statement issued by Lee’s office, several senators explained the importance of the move.
“This proposal will help end the deception where Congress over funds popular programs … only to shift the excess money to unrelated programs when the American people aren’t looking,” Toomey said. “It is a modest but important step in the direction of honest budgeting and protecting taxpayers.”
Ernst noted that there is no good purpose in leaving the money where it is now.
“Rescinding these dollars now ensures that Congress doesn’t use them as a budget gimmick later,” Ernst said. “This rescissions bill is a common-sense initiative to ensure that the federal government is a better and more effective steward of hard-working Americans’ money.”
Some Republican senators, such as Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, are pushing back.
“A lot of it has to do just with the fact that we have directed that spending and rescissions effectively take that away from us as the Congress,” Murkowski said.
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