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 CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights 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 Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes No agreement on budget caps in sight ahead of Memorial Day recess Republican strategist says an Amash presidential bid wouldn't result in 'any real political gain' MORE (R-Calif.) and President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign 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 CorkerJeff Daniels blasts 'cowardice' of Senate Republicans against Trump Corker: 'I just don't' see path to challenge Trump in 2020 Ex-GOP Sen. Corker: Trump primary would be 'good thing for our country' 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 ShelbyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Chances for disaster aid deal slip amid immigration fight Immigration fight imperils deal on disaster aid package 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 CornynThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Bipartisan House bill calls for strategy to protect 5G networks from foreign threats Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' MORE (R-Texas) and Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump boxed in on trade Export-Import Bank back to full strength after Senate confirmations Mike Enzi announces he'll retire from Senate after 2020 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 JohnsonBarr throws curveball into Senate GOP 'spying' probe Bipartisan group of senators introduce legislation designed to strengthen cybersecurity of voting systems Trump Jr. subpoena spotlights GOP split over Russia probes 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.”