Conservatives who were angry with President Donald Trump and Republicans with some of the expenditures approved as part of the recently signed omnibus spending bill may soon be in a slightly better mood.
Joseph Lawler of the Washington Examiner reports congressional conservatives want Trump to use the 1974 Impoundment Act to rescind some spending authorized by the $1.3 trillion government appropriations bill, and White House officials are reportedly considering doing so.
The measure referred to by the Examiner is officially known as the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. For the most part, the act established the Congressional Budget Office and gave Congress more control over the budget process.
— Herman Cain (@THEHermanCain) March 31, 2018
The Impoundment Control Act allows the president to ask Congress to rescind funds that have been allocated in the budget. Congress is not required to vote on the request, but if they do agree to vote, a simple majority in both chambers is all that is needed to approve cuts the president requests.
Congress has 45 days to approve any or all rescission requests from the president.
A congressional Republican aide told the Examiner that conservatives have been lobbying for Trump to use the Impoundment Act.
“It’s a good opportunity to take advantage of a law passed decades ago and that hasn’t been used recently,” the aide said.
A spokesman for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., confirmed to The Washington Post that McCarthy’s office is working with the Trump administration on the idea.
White House legislative director Marc Short also confirmed the president is looking into requesting cuts to the budget.
“The administration is certainly looking at a rescission package, and the president takes seriously his promise to be fiscally responsible.”
The Impoundment Control Act was put in place in 1974 in response to President Richard Nixon’s practice of withholding funds for programs he opposed. Instead, the act requires any requests to withhold funding to go through Congress.
The Impoundment Control Act is considered obscure because it hasn’t been used often in recent years. The Examiner report says it was never used by Presidents Barack Obama or George W. Bush, but was used frequently during the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
After signing the omnibus spending bill that he originally threatened to veto, Trump called on Congress to give him line-item veto authority on spending bills. However, the Supreme Court ruled in 1998 that such authority was unconstitutional.
These measures could pass with just a majority vote, meaning Democrats could do nothing to stop them — unless, of course, they can convince enough Republicans not to support the president’s wishes.
Considering the slim 51-to-49 majority Republicans hold in the Senate, it wouldn’t take many left-leaning Republicans to foil the president’s plans.
But a chance to rescind some of the budget programs gives conservatives reason for hope — and if Republicans throw away that chance, it will make conservatives angry all over again.
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