President Trump will propose a massive $15 billion spending cuts package to Congress on Tuesday, two months after the White House was stung by criticism from conservatives furious at the $300 billion funding hike Mr. Trump signed into law.
The administration said it was the largest single “rescission” package any president has ever submitted, and the first to be sent to Congress in nearly 20 years.
Mr. Trump’s proposal will focus on money that’s been sitting unused in accounts. Among the 38 cuts are $4.3 billion in a vehicle technology loan program, $800 million from an Obamacare payment pilot program and more than $200 million the Obama administration earmarked for the Ebola outbreak that dissipated years ago.
“This is money that was never going to be spent,” a senior administration official said, briefing reporters ahead of the announcement.
Congress will have to approve the package for the cuts to be made, and in sending it to Capitol Hill Mr. Trump is directly challenging Democratic leaders, who fought hard to increase domestic spending in the March government-funding deal, and who have already signaled they were unlikely to want to cooperate on new cuts.
House Republicans have been salivating over the fight and the administration official briefing reporters said they expect the bill to clear the House. The Senate could be a tougher sell — though the administration said some Senate Democrats are on record having backed similar rescission cuts before.
“I don’t see any reason why this would need to be a 50- or 51-vote threshold,” an official said.
Under the rules, a bill like this does not have to face a Senate filibuster, which could help speed passage.
The biggest rescission, covering nearly half of the $15 billion, will come from the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a popular policy that pays for health care for children in low-income families whose parents still make too much to qualify for Medicaid....The official who briefed reporters said $5 billion of that money is sitting in an account that the president has no authority to spend. The authorization lapsed several years ago. Another $2 billion is a contingency fund.Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, warned Mr. Trump against trying to recapture that money.“Let’s be honest about what this is: President Trump and Republicans in Congress are looking to tear apart the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), hurting middle-class families and low-income children, to appease the most conservative special interests and feel better about blowing up the deficit to give the wealthiest few and biggest corporations huge tax breaks,” he said.But the administration said the money wasn’t going to be spent, and the only reason Congress leaves it unused and sitting in the accounts is because it gives them “offsets” they can use later when they want to boost spending elsewhere.Congress can trim the proposal but it cannot go higher than Mr. Trump proposed.Rescission packages used to be a