Facing pressure from conservatives for their budget-busting moves, President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are considering forcing votes that would cut billions of dollars in spending from the bipartisan funding deal they just passed last month, according to sources familiar with the plan.
White House officials are working closely with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on the rescission package, said the sources. It’s not clear which programs could be targeted or when the House would vote, although the White House had targeted dozens of programs in Trump’s 2019 budget proposal. The White House also proposed nearly $15 billion in budget cuts as part of last year’s hurricane relief package, which were never acted upon.
Under the 1974 Budget Act, a rescission resolution could pass the Senate on a simple majority vote. The political split in the Senate is 50-49 until Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith is sworn in to replace former Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). But some Senate Republicans could balk at such cuts after they recently supported the omnibus spending bill.
The White House is also weighing whether to send a proposal for a line-item veto to Congress, which has been declared unconstitutional in the past. Trump has demanded line-item veto power to cut out spending programs preferred by Democrats.
Trump threatened to veto the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package before eventually signing it. But Trump warned that he would never approve another such deal, and he asked lawmakers to enact a line-item veto, despite the fact that it was struck down by the Supreme Court 20 years ago. White House lawyers are reportedly exploring ways to allow a new line-item veto to pass constitutional muster.
“To prevent the omnibus situation from ever happening again, I’m calling on Congress to give me a line-item veto for a government spending bills,” Trump said.
Democrats slammed GOP leaders and the White House for floating the rescission package right after pushing through a budget deal, saying Republicans were simply reacting to negative news coverage by conservative outlets.
“The omnibus was a responsible agreement enacted into law with bipartisan votes and the president’s signature,” said Matthew Dennis, spokesman for House Appropriations Committee Democrats. “Calling for a do-over because you didn’t like the press coverage after the fact is the height of absurdity.”
Politico · by John Bresnahan · April 3, 2018