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 John TrumpTrump: 'I don't trust everybody in the White House' JPMorgan CEO withdraws from Saudi conference Trump defends family separations at border 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 LeeSenators pledge action on Saudi journalist’s disappearance Bernie Sanders: US should pull out of war in Yemen if Saudis killed journalist Senators warn Trump that Saudi relationship is on the line MORE (Utah), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senator seeking information on FBI dealings with Bruce Ohr, former DOJ lawyer Election Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms Senate Homeland chair vents Mueller probe is preventing panel from receiving oversight answers 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 ErnstDemocrats won’t let Kavanaugh debate die Overnight Defense: Trump ramps up pressure on Iran, international courts | Arrest made after suspicious letters sent to Trump, Mattis | US to offer NATO cyber capabilities Admiral defends record after coming under investigation in 'Fat Leonard' scandal MORE (Iowa), David Perdue (Ga.), John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulNoisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks Five things to watch for in deteriorating US-Saudi relations MORE (Ky.), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake: Congress should not continue Kavanaugh investigations Arizona congressional candidate robbed outside restaurant The Kavanaugh debate was destructive tribalism on steroids: Here’s how we can stop it from happening again MORE (Ariz.) and Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseGOP senators praise Haley as 'powerful' and 'unafraid' Sasse: I encouraged Trump to pick someone other than Kavanaugh Sasse: Trump's rhetoric on Ford 'wrong' but not surprising MORE (Neb.) all introduced the legislation.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzNoisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Democrats hold fading odds of winning Senate this November Donald Trump Jr. emerges as GOP fundraising force 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 ShelbyDisasters become big chunk of U.S. deficit Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks Florida politics play into disaster relief debate 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 McConnellGOP Senate candidate: Kavanaugh 'debacle' 'hugely motivating' to Missouri voters Trump praises McConnell: He ‘stared down the angry left-wing mob’ to get Kavanaugh confirmed Murkowski not worried about a Palin challenge 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 CollinsThe Kavanaugh debate was destructive tribalism on steroids: Here’s how we can stop it from happening again Conservative group launches ad campaign thanking Collins after Kavanaugh vote Democrats must end mob rule MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMurkowski not worried about a Palin challenge Flake on Kavanaugh confirmation: To see GOP 'spiking the ball in the end zone' doesn't seem right GOP fractured over filling Supreme Court vacancies in 2020 MORE (Alaska) and Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem path to a Senate majority narrows GOP shrugs off dire study warning of global warming Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senators face Wednesday vote on Trump health plans rule | Trump officials plan downtime for ObamaCare website | Lawmakers push for action on reducing maternal deaths 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 MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump attacks Democrat in Ohio governor's race On The Money: Stocks slide for second day as Trump blames 'loco' Fed | Mulvaney calls for unity at consumer bureau | Pelosi says Dems will go after Trump tax returns Mulvaney calls for unity at consumer bureau amid racial controversy 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.