How Republicans could botch the rescission debate

  • 16 May 2018
  • jwoodie
How Republicans could botch the rescission debate

The White House has proposed pruning roughly $15 billion from the federal budget in order to restore some public faith in the GOP’s anti-deficit credentials. Many congressional Republicans are on board and ready to get started (some conservatives want to cut even more than the Administration has asked for).

But there’s a problem. It comes from those Republican appropriators whose purpose in life is spending your money (plus whatever they can borrow):

Some say they’re skeptical of the administration’s efforts to fast-track cuts to programs they aren't ready to kill, like rural infrastructure, clean energy and even a relatively new initiative that lets states use cash from unfinished earmarks projects.

“There’s a lot of things there that don’t make a lot of difference, but appropriators don’t like rescissions, so we’re going to have to think about that,” Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), who oversees the Homeland Security bill, told POLITICO on Wednesday.

That initial resistance includes Sen. Lisa Murkowski — whose vote could help determine whether the bill passes the narrowly divided Senate. With Arizona Sen. John McCain‘s absence, Republicans have a 50 to 49 majority, and can’t afford to lose a single GOP vote.

Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she isn’t sold on the administration's proposal to cut $684 million from a clean energy loan guarantee program. "I want to make sure that if you take the funds from the account, you don't eliminate the program,” the Interior-Environment Subcommittee chairwoman told reporters Thursday. “I don't want Title 17 programs eliminated. I want them reformed.”

This is why government spending is out of control, and has gotten worse under unified GOP control of the federal government.
What official Washington seems not to grasp is that federal budget is wildly out of balance and deficits will pile on huge amounts of new debt. Eventually, that pile of IOUs will become unsustainable, and every program will have to face cuts or elimination.

Better to prune now…before a crisis arrives and makes the cuts for them.