This Week in Congress Update: Rescissions and NDAA

Today, the House will vote on H.R. 3, legislation implementing President Trump’s proposed rescissions. Rescissions are where Congress reduces spending by adopting the President’s request for taking back unspent money from federal agencies and programs.

President Trump has proposed a rescissions package totaling of $14.835 billion.

Among the rescissions are:

$4.3 billion from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program— this is a crony capitalists-corporate welfare program that puts taxpayers on the hook for risky loans;

$523 million from the Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program— this is another corporate welfare program designed to get energy innovations on the market faster—good idea but is government better at this than the private companies? (SPOILER ALERT: NO);

$5.1 billion from Children Health Insurance Fund;

$1.8 billion from the Child Enrollment Contingency Fund;

$800 million from Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovations— Another waste of money, this program was supposed to find innovative methods for payment delivery, but this money is not going to be spent this year;

$500 million from the Farm Security and Rural Investment Programs—Money comes  from conservation programs more than what is needed for FY 2018;

$148 million from Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-This money was meant to address diseases that have been contained like the bird flu panic of a few years ago;

$133 million from Railroad Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits— this program expired in 2012;

$252 million for Ebola even though the World Health Organization says that crisis has passed;

$159 million of “leftover" funds from the National Serves Trust that provides scholarships to AmeriCorps “volunteers”;

$30 million in “leftover” funds from the State Departments’ Complex Crisis Fund, which provides rapid responses to international crises;

$13 million in “carryover balance" for high-cost energy grants;

$10 million in leftover funding for EPA travel, staff salaries etc.;

$16 million from Forest Service’s Land Acquisition budget;

$22.8 million from Community Development Financial Consortiums, which provides more subsidies to commercial banks

$22.9 million in emergency grants from trade adjuster that the Department of Labor has no intention of spending;

$14.7 million from Value-Added Product Grants which provide subsidies to help companies- which are already aided by the farm bill-market their products;

$30 million in “carryover funding” from the Economic Development Association, a duplicative program that expired in 2008;

$157 million from National Reserve Conservation Service, most of which is for Hurricane Sandy relief;

 $150 million from the Capitol Manet Fund, which aims to increase affordable housing. This cut will help move responsibility for the program to the private sector;

$106 million from the Civil Assist The Asset Forfeiture Fund of the Justice Department ;

$86 million from earmarked highway projects;

$53 million from high speed rail program;

$52 million from Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Bush-era attempt to reform foreign aide;

If Congress does not pass this rescission, the unspent money will be placed back into government programs.

While not a large step toward resorting fiscal discipline— much less constitutional government— it is a first step toward reducing spending and shows at least some willingness on the part of the administration and Congress to stop spending.

Campaign for Liberty is supporting the rescissions package and has cosigned a coalition letter in support of the it:

June 7, 2018

Open Letter to Congress: Support H.R. 3, the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act

Dear Member of Congress,

On behalf of the undersigned organizations and the millions of Americans that we represent, we write to express our support for the rescissions request sent to Congress by the Trump administration. We are pleased to see efforts to scale back unused and unnecessary federal spending and urge you to support this package.

The rescission process has been utilized by several previous Democratic and Republican administrations. This proposal requests more than $15 billion in rescinded appropriations, which makes it the largest rescission request offered by any President in U.S. history. As with rescission requests in the past, we believe this important step toward greater fiscal responsibility is worthy of strong bipartisan support.

The targeted funding reductions apply only to unobligated funds and would not impact program operations. The request features numerous programs that are long past their expiration date or no longer functioning, such as the Energy Department’s loan program for Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing, which hasn’t made a loan since 2011 ($4.3 billion), and National Emergency Grants made under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ($22.9 million).

With the national debt topping $21 trillion and projected deficits exceeding $1 trillion, it is clear that Washington will have to start showing greater spending discipline. While this package does not solve all of the federal government’s spending problems, it does take an important step toward achieving budgetary savings - a goal all lawmakers from both parties should enthusiastically support.

The presidential rescission request to Congress is pro-taxpayer and commonsense. We encourage all Members of Congress to support its passage.


Pete Sepp, President National Taxpayers Union

Tom Schatz, President

Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

David McIntosh, President Club for Growth

Jonathan Bydlak, President Coalition to Reduce Spending

David Williams, President Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Adam Brandon, President FreedomWorks

Brent Wm. Gardner, Chief Government Affairs Officer Americans for Prosperity

Grover Norquist, President Americans for Tax Reform

Norm Singleton, President Campaign for Liberty

Seton Motley, President Less Government

Heather R. Higgins, CEO Independent Women's Voice

Amy Kremer, Co-chair Women for Trump

Palmer Schoening, Chairman Family Business Coalition

Jeffrey Mazzella, President Center for Individual Freedom

Tim Chapman, COO

Heritage Action for America

Andrew F. Quinlan, President

Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Over in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has filed cloture on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The fact that McConnell filed cloture suggests he was unable to get agreements to offer amendments on issues like ending indefinite detention.

I’ll have updates on the NDAA and other issues such as the appropriations bills soon.

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