GOP senators cast doubt on spending clawback

GOP senators cast doubt on spending clawback
© Greg Nash

Key Republican Senators on Monday raised doubts that a rescission bill canceling some government spending would be able to pass the Senate.

“It is counter to the agreement that both houses and both parties and the administration reached, and to try to undo it after it’s just been signed into law strikes me as ill-advised,” said Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSusan Collins: Firing of intelligence community watchdog 'not warranted' Campaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis GOP senators begin informal talks on new coronavirus stimulus MORE (R-Maine), referring to a $1.3 trillion spending package passed with bipartisan support in late March.

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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update Pelosi, McConnell clash over next coronavirus bill Pelosi scales back coronavirus infrastructure proposal MORE (R-Calif.) and President TrumpDonald John TrumpOvernight Health Care: US hits 10,000 coronavirus deaths | Trump touts 'friendly' talk with Biden on response | Trump dismisses report on hospital shortages as 'just wrong' | Cuomo sees possible signs of curve flattening in NY We need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Barr tells prosecutors to consider coronavirus risk when determining bail: report MORE have been discussing ways to rescind funds from the spending deal, a process that was once common for narrow spending changes, but has seldom been used to railroad a negotiated, bipartisan agreement.

Collins, a moderate who has in the past bucked her party and the administration, said that reneging on promises made to Democrats “would make it very difficult” to strike future bipartisan deals. 

Retiring Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerMcConnell, Romney vie for influence over Trump's trial RNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight MORE (R-Tenn.) brushed aside the idea that such a move would succeed. 

“This is all a bunch of window dressing, you know that. It’s all for show. As is the balanced budget amendment,” Corker said.  

The House this week is expected to vote on a constitutional amendment requiring the government to operate on a balanced budget. It is not expected to pass the high threshold needed to amend the nation’s founding document.  

“It just gives cover to people to keep doing the destructive things that we’re doing," Corker said of the measures.

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyFive things being discussed for a new coronavirus relief bill Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Coronavirus bill includes more than billion in SNAP funding MORE (R-Ala.), who is expected to take over the chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee, also worried about damaging future relations with Democrats.

“If we agreed to something I want to keep my word,” he said, while keeping the door open to a more narrow rescission bill that didn’t flout the bipartisan spending measure.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynGOP senator: National shelter-in-place order would be an 'overreaction' Lawmakers already planning more coronavirus stimulus after T package Cuban says he'd spank daughter if she was partying during coronavirus pandemic MORE (R-Texas) and Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns Lobbying world MORE (R-Wyo.) were careful in their comments, simply saying they wanted to see what kind of bill the House would produce. 

Other Republican Senators threw vocal support behind the measure.

“This entire appropriations process is just disgusting, and in some way, shape or form we’ve got to break out of it,” said Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonRemembering Tom Coburn's quiet persistence Coronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner GOP seeks up to 0 billion to maximize financial help to airlines, other impacted industries MORE (R-Wis.), who favors changing the Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster for spending bills.

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) also favored canceling spending.  

“I hope it gets legs. I’m embarrassed about the bill we passed,” he said.

When asked about how such a move would affect bipartisanship in the future, he responded: “That’s up to the Democrats. If the Democrats want to support waste and government, that’s their business. I don’t.”