WH seeks to cut back spending as disaster relief spending mounts

WH seeks to cut back spending as disaster relief spending mounts
© Getty Images
The White House is seeking to cut back federal spending as expensive disaster relief packages continue to advance through Congress.
 
White House budget chief Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOvernight Finance: Mulvaney remark on lobbyists stuns Washington | Macron takes swipe at Trump tariffs | Conservatives eye tax cut on capital gains | Gillibrand unveils post office banking bill | GOP chairman pushes banks on gun policies Top banking Dem calls for Mulvaney to resign after lobbyist remarks Freedom Caucus chairman seeks clarification from Mulvaney on lobbyist comments MORE sent a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney Procter FrelinghuysenPath to Dem majority lies in well-educated districts Is Paul Ryan the latest sign of crumbling Republican Party? Loss of Ryan hits hard for House Republicans MORE (R-N.J.) suggesting $5.6 billion worth of potential cuts to federal spending that he said were “prudent as the discussion around emergency funding of all types continue."
 
The letter specified it was not intended to offset "any specific component" of disaster relief, and focused on previously-designated emergency spending.
 
Sixty-nine Republicans voted against the second aid relief bill that passed the House on Thursday, many of them citing concerns over the package's deficit effects.

Rep. Mark Walker (N.C.), who leads the Republican Study Committee caucus, was one of the lawmakers who voted against the legislation due to the lack of offsets.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Hurricane aid shouldn’t be added to the debt. That’s akin to going to the Emergency Room after an injury, putting the charges on a credit card, and then pretending that the Visa bill is never going to arrive,” Walker wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Conservatives in recent years have called for spending cuts or offsetting emergency funds for disaster relief. If the $36.5 billion House-passed package is signed into law, it will bring the level of emergency spending in the past two months alone to more than $50 billion. 

More funding is expected to be necessary in the wake of major natural disasters, such as hurricanes that ravaged parts of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Gulf Coast, as well as ongoing wildfires in California.
 
The U.S. has already experienced 15 natural disasters costing over $1 billion in 2017, according to government figures.