White House $15B cutback proposal causes agency spending hold

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Sarah Ferris, budget and appropriations reporter at Politico, and David Hawkings, senior editor at CQ Roll Call discuss the continuing fallout from the White House’s suggested rescissions package, and why Congress isn’t too pleased with it.


The White House’s request for $15 billion worth of cuts from federal spending accounts has reached Congress, and some lawmakers aren’t happy. While the Trump administration says these cuts are non-controversial, the Republican chairman of the Senate appropriations committee thinks otherwise. As this new congressional budget battle continues, some agency spending has stalled.

“Some of this I think is pride, and sort of turf consciousness. Members of Congress like to make a decision and they kind of like to stick to it,” said David Hawkings, senior editor at CQ Roll Call. “But, one of the sillinesses of this whole thing is, the CBO itself, the Congressional Budget Office on Friday night put out some amazing numbers. This is supposed to be a $15.2 billion rescissions package, so you think it would save the taxpayers in deficit reduction $15.2 billion. In fact, no… it’s less than 1.5 billion dollars over 10 years that would actually get shaved from the deficit, and the next year it would only be 10 percent of that, so just a few hundred million dollars.”

 

“They have until June 22… while that money is actually frozen. But after that point, agencies can go ahead and spend it. Maybe having some attention from the Republican appropriators back on these issues, there are a couple of Appalachian highway funds for example that maybe with Senate appropriations chairman Richard Shelby saying ‘Hey, I want to spend this money.’ Maybe that’s something they revive,” said Sarah Ferris, budget and appropriations reporter at Politico. There’s a lot of questions that we’re still waiting on and we don’t even know if the Senate can pass this yet. But in the meantime, agencies are sort of in limbo.”