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 CollinsCollins: My office has gotten 'pretty ugly voicemails, threats' over Kavanaugh The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Budowsky: Kavanaugh and the rights of women 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 McCarthyOn The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Midterms to shake up top posts on House finance panel The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE (R-Calif.) and President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency 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 Corker GOP senator: Kavanaugh accuser 'moving the goalposts' Grassley willing to send staff to California to speak with Kavanaugh accuser Corker blasts Trump's 'ready, fire, aim' trade policy 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 ShelbyCongress reaches deal to fund government through Dec. 7, preventing shutdown Senate approves first 2019 spending package GOP shrugs off Trump shutdown threat 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 CornynKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle GOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford MORE (R-Texas) and Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump privately calls Mattis ‘Moderate Dog’: report Push to change wildlife act sparks lobbying blitz House and Senate negotiators reach agreement on water infrastructure bill 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 JohnsonKavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow House panel advances DHS cyber vulnerabilities bills 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.”