White House plan to cut USD 15 billion unused government money

Vastavam web: The House has only narrowly passed a White House plan to cut almost USD 15 billion in unused government money, a closer-than-expected tally on legislation that’s designed to demonstrate fiscal discipline in Washington even though it wouldn’t have much of an impact on spiraling deficits.The measure, which passed 210-206, would take a mostly symbolic whack at government spending because it would basically eliminate leftover funding that wouldn’t have been spent anyway. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it faces long odds.More pragmatic Republicans on Capitol Hill’s powerful Appropriations panels aren’t keen on the measure since it would eliminate accounting tricks they routinely use to pay for spending elsewhere.

The measure includes USD 4 billion in cuts to a defunct loan program designed to boost fuel-efficient, advanced-technology vehicles, rescissions of various agriculture grant programs, and cuts to conservation programs at the Department of Agriculture, among others.While Democrats blasted the cuts, the real objection to some of them, such as USD 7 billion from popular Children’s Health Insurance Program funding, is that it would take that money off the table so it couldn’t be used later as it was in the earlier spending bill. The CHIP cuts wouldn’t affect enrollment in the program, which provides health care to children from low-income families that don’t qualify for Medicaid.Some GOP moderates also worry that they’re casting a difficult-to-explain vote to cut CHIP funding in the run-up to November’s midterm elections.

“I don’t think the vote’s intended for people in swing districts,” said Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa.The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office weighed in yesterday to estimate that the measure pushed largely by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney and No. 2 House Republican Kevin McCarthy of California would only cut the deficit by USD 1.1 billion over the coming decade. That’s because most of the cuts wouldn’t affect the deficit at all since CBO doesn’t give deficit credit for cutting money that would never have been spent.The White House submitted a revised package of cuts Tuesday, removing politically troublesome proposals to cut money to fight Ebola funds and to rebuild watersheds damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Trump weighed in soon after to urge Republicans to pass the plan.

It’s still unclear whether it will pass in the Senate, where pragmatic-minded Republicans are focusing on trying to get the troubled process for handling annual appropriations back on track on a bipartisan basis.The White House and tea party lawmakers upset by the budget-busting “omnibus” bill have rallied around the plan, aiming to show that Republicans are taking on out-of-control spending.While some Democrats opposed the spending cuts as heartless, others mostly mocked the legislation.