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GOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back $15 billion in spending

GOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back $15 billion in spending
© Greg Nash

A group of Senate conservatives is pushing forward with President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE's plan to claw back more than $15 billion in spending despite concerns from several of their Republican colleagues.

Ten GOP senators announced Friday that they had introduced the rescissions package, saying they were rolling out the legislation to help ensure it reaches the Senate floor within the 45-day window to avoid a Democratic filibuster.

GOP Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks Biden reignites war powers fight with Syria strike Bipartisan group of senators introduces bill to rein in Biden's war powers MORE (Utah), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate coronavirus bill delayed until Thursday Democrats cut deals to bolster support for relief bill Senate GOP will force clerks to read bill to delay COVID-19 relief vote MORE (Wis.), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (Pa.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstDemocrats cut deals to bolster support for relief bill Bill to shorten early voting period, end Election Day early in Iowa heads to governor's desk We know how Republicans will vote — but what do they believe? MORE (Iowa), David Perdue (Ga.), John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse approves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Bipartisan group of senators introduces bill to rein in Biden's war powers House sets vote for George Floyd police reform bill MORE (Ky.), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFormer GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' Grassley to vote against Tanden nomination Klain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' MORE (Ariz.) and Ben SasseBen SasseGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks Republicans, please save your party Mellman: How the Senate decided impeachment MORE (Neb.) all introduced the legislation.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington on high alert as QAnon theory marks March 4 The Memo: Is Trump mounting a comeback — or finally fading? MORE (R-Texas) is also supporting the bill, according to his office.

“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.

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Kennedy added that "Washington has long been spending tax dollars like a bunch of drunken sailors."

Notably absent from the bill's list of co-sponsors are members of Senate leadership or Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyCBC 'unequivocally' endorses Shalanda Young for White House budget chief Black Caucus members lobby Biden to tap Shalanda Young for OMB head On The Money: Senate panels postpone Tanden meetings in negative sign | Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers MORE (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Conservatives seized on the dynamic Friday afternoon, with FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon saying the absence of GOP leaders "speaks volumes."

"Clearly, Senate rank and file are the ones concerned with reckless spending. If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks DOJ declined to take up Chao ethics probe Trump was unhinged and unchanged at CPAC MORE [R-Ky.] is not going to take up the White House’s proposal to impound unobligated funds, it is good to that know we have Sens. Lee, Paul, and others to stick up for American taxpayers," he added in a statement.

The Trump administration submitted a request to Congress on May 8 to claw back $15.4 billion in spending from previously approved funds. Lawmakers have 45 days to approve the measure if they want to avoid the 60-vote Senate filibuster.

Senate GOP leadership has kept the door open to considering the legislation if it can pass the House.

“My understanding of the rescission package is that it does not breach the bipartisan agreement we reached in the caps deal. If the House is able to pass the rescissions package, we'll take a look at it,” McConnell told reporters recently.

But Republicans could struggle to get 50 votes for the legislation without help from Democrats, who have balked because the package targets funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program as well as funds designated for the 2015 Ebola outbreak.

Several GOP senators, including Shelby, Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior reverses Trump policy that it says restricted science | Collins to back Haaland's Interior nomination | Republicans press Biden environment nominee on Obama-era policy Republicans, please save your party Susan Collins to back Haaland's Interior nomination MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDemocrats cut deals to bolster support for relief bill White House not ready to name Tanden replacement The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington on high alert as QAnon theory marks March 4 MORE (Alaska) and Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoPassage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Biden's unity effort falters Capito asks White House to allow toxic chemicals rule to proceed MORE (W.Va.), have voiced concerns about parts of the bill. 

Shelby suggested earlier this month that the package “could take funds away from a lot of us in the South, on transportation. And that’s not going to be a very popular thing.”

Murkowski said late last week that she had talked with White House budget chief Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyOMB nominee gets hearing on Feb. 9 Republicans now 'shocked, shocked' that there's a deficit Financial firms brace for Biden's consumer agency chief MORE. Trump's budget director was open to making changes to address some of her concerns, she said.

"[But] a lot of it has to do just with the fact that we have directed that spending and rescissions effectively take that away from us as the Congress,” Murkowski said.