McConnell quashes Trump’s plan to claw back spending deal
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday shot down President Trump’s call for Congress to pass a rescissions package that would cut nondefense spending included in the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package passed in March.
Senate Republicans have expressed skepticism about Trump’s idea since he first floated it during the Easter Recess and McConnell finally killed it this week.
The GOP leader warned that passing a privileged resolution to cut domestic nondefense spending contained in the budget deal would imperil future negotiations with Democrats.
“You can’t make an agreement one month and say, ‘OK, we really didn’t mean it,’ ” McConnell told Fox News.
He pointed out that Trump helped negotiate the $1.3 trillion spending deal and signed it into law.
“He agreed to it. He was involved in the negotiation and signed the bill,” he said, emphasizing, “We had a deal with the Democrats.”
McConnell said Trump shouldn’t have been shocked that the bipartisan package included Democratic priorities.
“He and his people were involved in the negotiation. They agreed to it,” he said.
The omnibus increased discretionary spending by nearly $300 billion over fiscal years 2018 and 2019. Most of that, $165 billion, was for defense programs.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is running to succeed Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in 2019, is a leading proponent of the rescissions package and has been working closely with Trump on it.
Some Senate Republicans think McCarthy is trying to ingratiate himself with the president while a leadership promotion is on the line.
“This sounds a lot like a play by Kevin McCarthy to boost his profile with the White House,” a GOP aide told The Hill earlier this month.
McConnell seemed more open-minded about the idea earlier this month, but even then expressed doubt that it would gain much traction on Capitol Hill.
“I’m willing to discuss with the administration of the possibility of some kind of rescission package. I think it’s worth a discussion. Whether that’s achievable is another matter,” he told reporters last week.