The Trump administration’s proposed package of “rescission” spending cuts meant to quell conservative anger about rising deficits will be a bit bigger than previously expected. The Washington Post and Politico report that the administration will ask Congress for $15 billion in spending cuts, up from a reported $11 billion last week, but still much smaller than the $30 billion to $60 billion originally floated.
The proposed cuts involve more than 30 programs, according to the Post, and will — for now — target only unspent funds from years past rather than money included in the $1.3 trillion spending bill passed earlier this year. The cuts outlined by the Post include:
- $5 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Fund (CHIP), which provides health care to low-income children. The White House told the Post the ability to use this money expired in September
- $2 billion from CHIP’s Child Enrollment Contingency Fund, which is supposed to preserve funding in case enrollment is higher than expected. A senior administration official told the Post that states aren’t expecting to see that kind of surge because of the strength of the economy, among other factors.
- $800 million from money provided under the Affordable Care Act in 2010 to test innovative payment and service delivery models
- $133 million from a railroad unemployment program that expired in 2012.
Once the White House sends the rescission request to Congress, lawmakers will have 45 days to vote on it, with a simple majority required for it to pass.
This package of cuts is the first of several promised by the White House, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told the Post. “I hope it’s never painted that this is just symbolic or a political gesture,” he said.
The White House is reportedly looking at other cuts that would involve funds approved as part of this year’s spending deal. But the current proposal, if approved, represents less than 0.4 percent of total government spending this year, according to the Post.