Senate

Senate GOP warms to Trump’s rescissions package

Greg Nash
Senate Republicans are warming to President Trump’s proposal to claw back spending after dismissing an earlier plan with widespread skepticism. 
 
Trump is requesting Congress rescind $15.4 billion in spending from previously approved funds, the largest single such request from a White House and the first in nearly two decades.
 
“My understanding of the rescission package is that it does not breach the bipartisan agreement we reached in the caps deal. If the House is able to pass the rescissions package, we’ll take a look at it,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). 
 
McConnell’s comments, while not a ringing endorsement, are more positive than his reaction to the White House’s floated plan of clawing back money from the omnibus. 

{mosads}The GOP leader shut the door on such an idea last month, telling Fox News: “You can’t make an agreement one month and say: ‘OK, we really didn’t mean it.’ “

The rescissions plan, according to the White House, would largely target unobligated funds, including money leftover in now defunct accounts. 
 
Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said separating a rescissions request from the omnibus “helps quite a bit.” 
 
“I would certainly like to see us move on it,” he added. 
 
Congress has 45 days to approve the request in a measure that is not subject to a Senate filibuster. That would allow Republicans to pass a rescissions package without help from Democrats, as long as they can keep most of their fragile 51-seat caucus united. 
 
Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 3 Senate Republican, predicted that a rescissions package “could” pass the Senate at the simple majority threshold. 
 
“I would think it could, yeah. I mean I think if it’s reasonable and they’re spending issues most Republicans agree with … it’s possible,” he said. 
 
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) noted that he supports the package but thinks “it doesn’t go far enough.” 
 
“I will be on rescissions like a cat on a fat rat,” he added. 
 
But with GOP Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) absent from Washington, Republicans are effectively capped at 50 votes. That would mean they couldn’t afford to lose any GOP senator if they weren’t able to pull any Democrats on board. 
 
No Republican senator has officially come out as a “no” vote, but several noted on Tuesday that they were still reviewing the details of the bill. 
 
GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), who had previously voiced concern about clawing back money from the omnibus, said she is still reviewing the package. 
 
“I need to look at the specific accounts. For example if money is taken out of the highway trust fund that doesn’t make sense to me on the surface because we’re in a situation where the highway trust fund is broke every year and we have to borrow from the general fund,” she said. 
 
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) also pointed to funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 
 
“I’ve been a big proponent of CHIP,” she said. “I have concerns, but I haven’t looked at the full details.” 
 
There’s no sign Democrats will come on board, though lawmakers up for reelection in red and purple states are likely to come under pressure from the White House. 
 
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the package “outrageous.” 

“I think doing these types of rescissions in the Senate would sour the ability to get [appropriations] done,” he added.

Tags Charles Schumer Debt deficit Donald Trump John Cornyn John Kennedy John McCain John Thune Mitch McConnell Rescissions Senate Shelley Moore Capito Susan Collins
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