Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Pat Toomey (R-PA), David Perdue (R-GA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Ben Sasse (R-NE) introduced the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act Thursday, a bill that would formally rescind the $15 billion in unneeded spending identified by the White House on May 8, 2018.
“Rescinding these dollars now ensures that Congress doesn’t use them as a budget gimmick later,” Sen. Ernst said. “This rescissions bill is a common-sense initiative to ensure that the federal government is a better and more effective steward of hard-working Americans’ money.”
“Yes, a $15 billion spending reduction is a drop in the bucket compared to a $15 trillion debt,” Sen. Lee said. “But we have to start cutting spending somewhere. Because if we don’t, if we continue to allow federal government spending to grow faster than the economy as a whole, at some point economic reality will force us to do so in a much more painful manner later.”
“Our country doesn’t have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem,” Sen. Johnson said. “While these cuts won’t solve our debt problems – far from it – they are an important step in the right direction by eliminating unnecessary and excessive spending throughout the federal government.”
“This proposal will help end the deception where Congress over funds popular programs like CHIP only to shift the excess money to unrelated programs when the American people aren’t looking,” Sen. Toomey said. “It is a modest but important step in the direction of honest budgeting and protecting taxpayers.”
“We are past the tipping point in this debt crisis,” said Sen. Perdue. “Today, most of the money we spend on our military, our veterans, and domestic discretionary programs is borrowed money. This will get worse and it’s time for Washington to come to grips with this reality. President Trump has—that’s why his team is proposing to cut these unused and expired government programs. These are simple cuts, arguably the easiest we could make, and they should be supported by every member in Congress.”
“Unfortunately, the Senate was unable to cut one penny from every dollar through a budget bill I proposed last week. I am hopeful they will support cutting half a penny from every dollar through this rescissions package,” Sen. Paul said.
The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act 1974 empowers the president to send a rescission message to Congress specifying the accounts, programs, and amounts to be rescinded. The funds are then locked down for 45 days allowing Congress to either approve, modify, or ignore the president’s rescission request.
According to Senate rules, all rescission legislation must go to committee where the committee then has 25 days to act before the legislation can be discharged to the floor. By introducing this legislation today, that 25-day window for discharge will run out before the 45-day window for congressional action.