White House nixes second spending clawback attempt

White House nixes second spending clawback attempt
© Greg Nash

The White House has decided not to request a second round of budget rescissions, a controversial move allowing lawmakers to claw back spending authority, according to key senators.  

The rumored $3 billion rescissions package had been controversial, reportedly homing in on foreign aid dollars. 

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"My understanding is that it's dead," said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerPress: How 'Nervous Nancy' trumped Trump Press: How 'Nervous Nancy' trumped Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment MORE (R-Tenn.). 

One reason the package was unpopular among lawmakers is that it would have effectively blocked funds approved by Congress from going out the door. 

A rescission request would have prevented agencies from spending any of the dollars in question for 45 days. Because the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, it would prevent the funds from being spent at all.

“This is a welcome decision," said Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyOn The Money: Pelosi says no debt ceiling hike until deal on spending caps | McConnell pressures White House to strike budget deal | Warren bill would wipe out billions in student debt | Senate passes IRS reform bill On The Money: Pelosi says no debt ceiling hike until deal on spending caps | McConnell pressures White House to strike budget deal | Warren bill would wipe out billions in student debt | Senate passes IRS reform bill Trump's border funding comes back from the dead MORE (D-Vt.) the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

"Rescinding funds that had been agreed to by Congress and signed into law by the president, in the waning days of the fiscal year, would have set a terrible precedent and harmed programs that further United States interests around the world," he added.

Leahy said a new request would have thrown a wrench into the appropriations process for 2019, which is currently underway. Congressional leaders are hoping to send nine of the 12 annual spending packages to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants MORE's desk before the end of the fiscal year. 

Trump has threatened to shut down the government this fall if Congress does not allocate sufficient funds for his proposed southern border wall.

Earlier in the year, Congress decided not to act on an initial request to rescind $15 billion in spending authority, which largely targeted funds for programs that were no longer authorized or funds that were not expected to be used.

The White House Office of Management and Budget did not immediately respond to request for comment. 

— Jordain Carney contributed to this report.