Trump, McCarthy mulling ways to cut omnibus spending

Trump, McCarthy mulling ways to cut omnibus spending
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySchiff: McCarthy 'will do whatever Trump tells him' if GOP wins back House House GOP campaign arm raises .8 million in third quarter McCarthy raises nearly M so far this year MORE (R-Calif.) and President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE are discussing ways to cut some of the funding recently passed in the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package, which drew fierce criticism from conservatives.

According to multiple reports, the method by which they would do us relies on a provision in the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impound Control Act, in which the president can formally request Congress to rescind some of the budget authority it laid out in the omnibus.

"There are conversations right now," McCarthy spokesman Matt Sparks confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday. "The administration and Congress and McCarthy are talking about it."

Sparks told The Washington Post that while discussions had begun, no details had been hammered out.

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“The administration is certainly looking at a rescission package, and the president takes seriously his promise to be fiscally responsible," White House legislative director Marc Short said in a statement to the Post.

ABC News first reported on the effort.

In order for the spending to be slashed, Congress would need to sign off on the request, which poses a challenge for Trump.

Lawmakers would have to draft bills, send them through committee and pass them through both chambers within 45 days. While omnibus spending cuts would likely pass the House with conservative support, they would face an uphill battle in the Senate due to the unlikelihood of bipartisan support and the GOP's narrow majority.

But budgetary experts are unclear whether the infrequently used process would require a 60-vote procedural vote in the Senate, which would allow Democrats to block the bill from moving forward.

It's also unclear how much funding would be rolled back and which omnibus provisions would be targeted if they opt to move forward with the maneuver.

Rescission was once common practice. Government Accountability Office testimony in 1992 found that every president had offered some sort of rescission request to Congress from 1974 until that point, and that Congress had approved about a third of those requests. The testimony also found that rescission had little effect on overall deficits, due to their relatively small scale in the scheme of government spending.

With Republicans gearing up for a difficult midterm election cycle, conservatives have voiced concerns that it will be difficult to run on a message of fiscal conservatism when they passed a spending bill that exceeds previous caps.

The Republican Study Committee is pushing for a vote on a balanced budget amendment to shore up the party’s fiscal credentials. But there is far-from-widespread agreement that a constitutional amendment limiting fiscal flexibility is either good policy or politically feasible.

Such an amendment would face high hurdles to passage, but could put Republicans in tight races on the record as favoring strict fiscal discipline, despite the worsening fiscal situation that has emerged with the GOP in charge of both chambers and the White House.