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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 McCarthyDemocrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? Top Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' MORE (R-Calif.) after discussions with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report 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 HoyerDemocrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Hoyer on Trump election challenges: 'I think this borders on treason' 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 LeeMcConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus MORE (Utah), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonMcConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus MORE (Wis.), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyAppeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy MORE (Pa.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstThe Memo: Trump plows ahead with efforts to overturn election More conservatives break with Trump over election claims Peggy Noonan: 'Bogus dispute' by Trump 'doing real damage' MORE (Iowa), David Perdue (Ga.), John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCongress set for chaotic year-end sprint McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls MORE (Ky.), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden eyeing Cindy McCain for UK ambassador position: report Profiles in cowardice: Trump's Senate enablers McSally concedes Arizona Senate race MORE (Ariz.) and Ben SasseBen SasseTrump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism The Memo: Trump election loss roils right Whoopi Goldberg blasts Republicans not speaking against Trump: 'This is an attempted coup' 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."