President Trump promised to make America great again and cutting unnecessary spending is a part of that dream. This week, President Trump announced that he would be asking Congress to rescind $15 billion of unspent funding in an effort to tackle the latest budget deal and work toward reducing the national debt.
“We are grateful to the Trump administration for this rescission package and fully support its implementation as a good first step,” Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund Chairman Jenny Beth Martin said in a statement this week. ”This is money that cannot be spent so it shouldn’t be spent. It should be returned to taxpayers as a down payment on future rescissions and spending cuts that the Republican congressional leadership has promised multiple times.”
Trump’s rescission package includes $7 billion of funds provided in 2017 to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP. Some news outlets and Never Trumpers lambasted after hearing the decision, calling it an attack on children’s healthcare. It’s not; the rescission package only includes funding that the government was never going to spend.
The president’s rescission package would take back $15 billion in previously provided spending authority. Of that, $7 billion would come from funds provided in 2017 to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP. No authority was ever actually granted to CHIP to spend that money.
The obvious question: If the money was never going to be spent anyway, then how is it “saving” taxpayers money to rescind it? CHIP rescissions have been abused by Congress as one of the most common budget gimmicks to pay for unrelated spending. By rescinding these funds and returning them to the Treasury, they can’t be used to pay for other spending.
A further $4.8 billion in rescission comes from the Department of Energy’s advanced technology vehicle manufacturing and innovative technology loan programs.
The loan programs are remnants of the 2008 auto industry bailout. Neither has generated new loans since 2011.
Unspent emergency funds from the 2015 Ebola outbreak and from relief provided in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in 2012 are also in the rescission package. The remainder of the request is spread across several agencies and programs.
The funds targeted have, in most cases, been sitting for years and are unlikely ever to be spent. It should make sense to members of Congress—Republicans and Democrats alike—that taxpayers would be better served if this money were used for deficit reduction.
President Trump is trying to keep his campaign promises — but it’s time for Congress to do the same. There is $15 billion of taxpayer dollars idly sitting and not authorized for use by government. Congress should rescind these funds, work toward eliminating wasteful spending and take measurable steps toward fiscal responsibility.