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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 CollinsCheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts House to advance appropriations bills in June, July Manchin touts rating as 'most bipartisan senator' 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 McCarthyLoyalty trumps policy in Stefanik's rise, Cheney's fall Cheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts Likely Cheney successor appears on Bannon show to tout GOP unity MORE (R-Calif.) and President TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments 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 CorkerThe unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Fox News inks contributor deal with former Democratic House member 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 ShelbyRepublicans embrace Trump in effort to reclaim Senate Top Senate Democrat announces return of earmarks Senate GOP keeps symbolic earmark ban 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 CornynTim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Cornyn is most prolific tweeter in Congress so far in 2021 Schumer 'exploring' passing immigration unilaterally if talks unravel MORE (R-Texas) and Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoRepublican seeks to use Obama energy policies to criticize Biden  EPA proposes major rule to reduce certain greenhouse gases Republicans hammer Biden on infrastructure while administration defends plan 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 JohnsonOvernight Health Care: WHO-backed Covax gets a boost from Moderna Vaccine hesitancy among lawmakers slows return to normalcy on Capitol Hill FBI was aware Giuliani was a target of a Russian influence campaign ahead of 2020 election: report 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.”