Trump plan to cut $15B in spend­ing squeaks through

The Mercury News Weekend - - NEWS -

WASHINGTON » The House on Thurs­day only nar­rowly passed a White House plan to cut al­most $15 bil­lion in unused gov­ern­ment money, a closer-than- ex­pected tally on leg­is­la­tion that’s de­signed to demon­strate fis­cal dis­ci­pline in Washington even though it wouldn’t have much of an im­pact on spi­ral­ing deficits.

The mea­sure, which passed 210-206, would take a mostly sym­bolic whack at gov­ern­ment spend­ing be­cause it would ba­si­cally elim­i­nate left­over fund­ing that wouldn’t have been spent any­way. The bill now goes to the Se­nate, where it faces long odds.

The deficit is on track to ex­ceed $800 bil­lion this year de­spite a strong econ­omy. Repub­li­cans con­trol­ling Congress are not at­tempt­ing to pass a bud­get this year.

The pack­age of so- called rescis­sions has been em­braced by GOP con­ser­va­tives up­set by pas­sage in March of a $1.3 tril­lion catchall spend­ing bill that they say was too bloated. More prag­matic Repub­li­cans on Capi­tol Hill’s pow­er­ful Ap­pro­pri­a­tions panels aren’t keen on the mea­sure since it would elim­i­nate ac­count­ing moves they rou­tinely use to pay for spend­ing else­where.

The mea­sure in­cludes $4 bil­lion in cuts to a de­funct loan pro­gram de­signed to boost fuel- ef­fi­cient, ad­vanced-tech­nol­ogy ve­hi­cles, rescis­sions of var­i­ous agri­cul­ture grant pro­grams, and cuts to con­ser­va­tion pro­grams at the De­part­ment of Agricul- ture, among oth­ers.

While Democrats blasted the cuts, the real ob­jec­tion to some of them, such as $7 bil­lion from pop­u­lar Chil­dren’s Health In­sur­ance Pro­gram fund­ing, is that it would take that money off the table so it couldn’t be used later as it was in the ear­lier spend­ing bill. The CHIP cuts wouldn’t af­fect en­roll­ment in the pro­gram, which pro­vides health care to chil­dren from low-in­come fam­i­lies that don’t qual­ify for Med­i­caid.

“Tar­get­ing CHIP for a rescis­sion pre­vents Congress from rein­vest­ing in other pri­or­i­ties like child and ma­ter­nal health, early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion, bio­med­i­cal re­search and our com­mu­nity health cen­ters,” said New York Rep. Nita Lowey, the top Demo­crat on the Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee.

Some GOP mod­er­ates also worry that they’re cast­ing a dif­fi­cult-to- ex­plain vote to cut CHIP fund­ing in the run-up to Novem­ber’s midterm elec­tions.

“I don’t think the vote’s in­tended for peo­ple in swing dis­tricts,” said Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa. Nine­teen Repub­li­cans, mostly mod­er­ates, op­posed the bill. No Democrats voted for it.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is the first Pres­i­dent to em­ploy the so- called rescis­sions tool since the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion. The ob­scure process is one of the few ways around the Se­nate fil­i­buster, though other par­lia­men­tary prob­lems could await in that cham­ber — even if re­sis­tance from mod­er­ates and Repub­li­cans on the Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee can be over­come.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.