White House aims to send spending claw-back proposals by early May

White House aims to send spending claw-back proposals by early May
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The White House is aiming to send rescission requests to Congress early next month that would seek to claw-back spending from the recently passed $1.3 trillion omnibus government funding bill.

“We have a very long list of pots of money that are on the table but still narrowing it down for the final product. We probably won't send the package up to the Hill until early May at the earliest,” a White House official told The Hill.

Cuts to the State Department are a “big target,” the source said.

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“Obviously, State Department programs will be a big target just like they were in our two previous budgets,” the White House official said.

The timeline suggest that the idea of rescinding spending from the omnibus negotiated by both parties is being seriously pursued by the White House, even as Republican lawmakers in both chambers have dismissed the approach.

The omnibus passed the House and Senate with Democratic support. Democrats have railed against any rescission effort as going back on a previously negotiated deal.

The effort is particularly worrisome to Democrats, since a rescission package would be filibuster-proof in the Senate.

Key Republicans, however, have poured cold water on the effort backed by some House conservatives.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCoronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner Struggling states warn coronavirus stimulus falls short Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike MORE (R-Ky.) in comments this week said the omnibus was a “bipartisan agreement.”

“I’m willing to discuss with the administration of the possibility of some kind of rescission package,” he said. “I think it’s worth a discussion. Whether that’s achievable is another matter.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthySunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on Lysol, disinfecting wipes and face masks mark coronavirus vote in House Trump signs T coronavirus relief package MORE (R-Calif.) and Trump have been discussing using the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act to rescind funds from the omnibus.

Trump was highly critical of the massive spending package, threatening to veto the measure in March before ultimately signing it. Fiscal hawks have applauded the idea, arguing retroactive cuts are necessary following the wave of backlash from conservatives. 

“It's certainly something that there is openness and a willingness to explore. We would view this in the category of finding a way to cut spending, and I think that there would certainly be a willingness to do that,” a senior GOP aide told The Hill. “The question is how big and the question is timing.”

Critics fear the move could have long-term repercussion, potentially hindering lawmakers' ability to negotiate spending bills with members across the aisle in the future.

Rep. Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeDemocrats eye remote voting options Members of House GOP leadership self-quarantining after first lawmakers test positive House Democrats unveil coronavirus economic response package MORE (R-Okla.), a longtime member of the House Appropriations Committee, said he believes the move is “unrealistic and dangerous,” telling reporters they would “never have another deal ever.”