CHN: White House Wants to Take Back Some Just-Approved FY18 Funding

Despite the fact that Congress finally passed and the President signed an FY18 omnibus spending package just last month, the White House and some in Congress want to renege on the funding promises made within it. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the Trump administration will send spending cut requests, known as rescissions, to Congress in the next few weeks, with hopes of a vote in the House before July. These proposed cuts, which could total as much as $60 billion, could target both the $1.3 trillion FY18 omnibus package as well as unused funding from previous years. Mulvaney also said the administration could choose to do a series of rescission requests rather than submitting them all at once.

Once OMB sends a rescission request to Congress, Congress has 45 days to vote on all of it, part of it, or none of it, and rescissions can be passed with a simple majority in both chambers. According to CQ, even without congressional action, the funding proposed in the request is frozen for 45 days. And because the days are counted when Congress is in session, funds proposed for cancellation could be blocked for months, especially considering the congressional calendar in an election year. However, Congress can reject the rescissions sooner, and, if Congress takes no action to approve the rescissions, funding is reinstated at the end of the 45 legislative day period. While some members of the House support the idea of rescissions to cut nondefense spending, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) have said they oppose it because it would violate the bipartisan agreement and make upcoming spending talks more difficult.

Advocates oppose rescissions because they are likely to target critical human needs programs that have faced years of cuts. As CHN noted in a statement when the omnibus passed, “Congress approved final spending levels that will reduce the erosion that has occurred in many human needs programs since 2010.” Cancelling funding and reneging on bipartisan spending levels just months after they were passed would put low-income children and families in jeopardy of losing needed supports. For more information on the FY18 omnibus package, see CHN’s FY18 budget resource page.

Budget and Appropriations