House GOP prepares to consider Trump's $15 billion clawback

House GOP prepares to consider Trump's $15 billion clawback
© Greg Nash

House Republicans are preparing to take action on a $15 billion rescissions package in coming weeks amid a conservative push for Congress to claw back spending as lawmakers return from recess.  

The White House is considering tweaking its initial proposal — an idea spearheaded by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOn The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Midterms to shake up top posts on House finance panel The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE (R-Calif.) after discussions with President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE in April — as GOP leadership is still short of the votes needed to pass the measure.

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While the package still faces some pushback — with critics fearing it could hinder future bipartisan negotiations — House GOP leadership is currently whipping the measure as pressure mounts on the party's lawmakers to slash spending ahead of the midterm election cycle.

"Support for the President’s rescissions request is growing by the day and Leader McCarthy continues to actively support the whip operation to send these spending cuts to the Senate," McCarthy spokesman Matt Sparks told The Hill in a statement. "The House is expected to consider it when we return from the district work period."

Conservative activist groups including FreedomWorks, the Heritage Foundation and Tea Party Patriots have recently expressed their support of the idea, pushing Republicans to act on the rollback in funding following Congress's $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill.

"Small steps are better than no steps. Oftentimes, these unobligated funds are used as fake offsets in appropriations bills to allow for higher spending," FreedomWorks president Adam Brandon wrote of the package. "Therefore, although not intended to be spent for their original purpose, it is important to take away the opportunity to repurpose the spending as offsets by rescinding them."

While the rescissions would cut just a fraction of the spending in the massive government funding bill, proponents argue it's a good start to a more fiscally conservative approach to governing.

"Approving this initial $15.4 billion rescissions request in full -- pulling back funds sitting in useless accounts that can only otherwise be used to spend more in the future -- is a task that conservatives in Congress should wholeheartedly endorse," Brandon continued. "It is one of few opportunities to exercise any semblance of fiscal discipline. It is only one small step towards actually tackling Washington’s out-of-control spending addiction, but it represents a chance to begin this fight."

Democrats have voiced strong opposition to the White House proposal, with House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDems' confidence swells with midterms fast approaching Trump's Puerto Rico tweets spark backlash Hoyer lays out government reform blueprint MORE (D-Md.) blasting its call to cut a contingency fund for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) while leaving defense discretionary spending intact.

McCarthy dismissed allegations it would negatively impact CHIP, arguing it targets untouchable funding and saves taxpayers money.

GOP Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeReexamining presidential power over national monuments Utah group complains Mia Love should face criminal penalties for improper fundraising Senate approves 4B spending bill MORE (Utah), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonKavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow House panel advances DHS cyber vulnerabilities bills MORE (Wis.), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (Pa.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGOP senator divorcing from husband GOP senators introduce bill to preserve ObamaCare's pre-existing conditions protections Pence: Trump’s national security will be as 'dominant' in space as it is on Earth MORE (Iowa), David Perdue (Ga.), John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulConservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Senate approves 4B spending bill Some employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report MORE (Ky.), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGrassley panel scraps Kavanaugh hearing, warns committee will vote without deal Coulter mocks Kavanaugh accuser: She'll only testify 'from a ski lift' Poll: More voters oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination than support it MORE (Ariz.) and Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseMcConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal Senate approves 4B spending bill Grassley agrees to second Kavanaugh hearing after GOP members revolt MORE (Neb.) introduced the rescissions package in the upper chamber late last week, with supporters hoping it would be taken up in committee before the window for it to be discharged runs out. 

“Yes, a $15 billion spending reduction is a drop in the bucket compared to a $15 trillion debt,” Lee said in a statement. “But we have to start cutting spending somewhere."