President Trump’s historic rescissions package is a welcome step to cut wasteful spending
© Greg Nash

We must always be careful stewards of the taxpayer’s hard-earned money. That’s why I was proud to sign on as an original co-sponsor of President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE’s rescissions package which he submitted to Congress last week. As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, I understand more than most in Congress that President Trump’s proposal rescinding $15 billion -- the largest in history -- is necessary.

While reducing wasteful spending should be something both parties support, Congress will be able to take action on President Trump’s plan with or without Democratic cooperation. Current law allows spending cuts or “rescissions” to be proposed under fast-track procedures in the House and Senate, meaning only 51 votes are needed in the Senate for approval.

ADVERTISEMENT

While this authority hasn’t been used in nearly two decades, every Congress under presidents Gerald Ford to Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonGiuliani says Black Lives Matter is 'domestic terrorist' group We have the resources to get through this crisis, only stupidity is holding us back Biden needs to bring religious Americans into the Democratic fold MORE has rescinded funds. Altogether, rescissions have cut $25 billion in spending. In past Congresses, both parties have supported rescission packages similar to the one President Trump is proposing.

President Trump’s proposal targets spending that is unnecessary, unused, or cannot be used for its original purpose. Importantly, the president’s plan does not take money away from our national security or the recently passed FY18 omnibus. Some of the funds included in the president’s request were appropriated many years ago, but have never been used. It’s common sense that we should reduce these funds to show the American people that Congress is serious about getting spending under control.

For example, the Trump administration’s request would save $4.3 billion from the Department of Energy by rescinding funds for the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, which has been dormant since 2011. Another $148 million would be saved from the Agriculture Department intended for animal and plant disease outbreaks that have already been resolved. $47 million would be saved from the Federal Transit Administration from an account that has stagnated for 13 years. Yet another would reclaim taxpayer dollars from a Railroad Retirement Board program that ended in 2012.

The president’s proposals would also rescind $7 billion in Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funds that are either no longer necessary or simply cannot be spent because the authority to do so has expired. Therefore, children and families who rely on this vital program will not be affected by the rescission of these funds. Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve been a strong proponent of the CHIP program and would not have supported this package if it harmed those using it.

In total, the president’s proposal calls for the rescission of unspent funds within the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Transportation, State/USAID, Treasury, and others. With a national debt exceeding $21 trillion, every member of Congress should support rescinding these unspent funds that are simply sitting in the coffers of federal agencies.

As recently as April 13, 2018, House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Negotiators 'far apart' as talks yield little ahead of deadline On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Overnight Health Care: Ohio governor tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of Trump's visit | US shows signs of coronavirus peak, but difficult days lie ahead | Trump: COVID-19 vaccine may be ready 'right around' Election Day MORE (D-Md.) stated that, “I wouldn’t irrationally oppose a rescission which said we’ve had money laying in an account that has not been spent for 1, 2, 3 years, we shouldn’t just have it sitting in that account.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Republicans made a promise to the American public that we would always put the American taxpayer first, and that’s exactly what President Trump’s plan to cut spending does. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee, and in the full House, to pass this proposal as soon as possible.

Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerHelping our seniors before it's too late House approves .3 trillion spending package for 2021 GOP lawmakers comply with Pelosi's mask mandate for House floor MORE is a congresswoman from Fort Worth, Texas. Elected in 1996, she currently serves as the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.