The Trump administration is expected to submit $15 billion worth of proposed budget cuts to Congress Tuesday, returning little-used funds in order to reduce government waste.
The payback will be conducted under the President's authority to cancel budgeting previously provided by Congress, also known as rescission. The general goal of rescission is to return unused funds to Congress, rather than allowing federal budgets to balloon unchecked.
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Approximately half of the cuts—$7 billion—would come from funds associated with the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides insurance to low-income families. The Washington Post reported that the administration does not expected any of the rescissed CHIP funds to have any impact on the program's nine million users. The funds either expired last year or were not expected to be used.
An additional $4.3 billion in cuts would come from a vehicle technology loan program, initiated in 2007 but which administration officials said had not been used since 2011. A further $800 million will come from an Obamacare pilot program, while $200 million will come from funds earmarked by the Obama administration for combatting the since-resolved Ebola outbreak of 2014.
The power of rescission was delegated to the President in the 1974 Budget and Impoundment Control Act. according to a senior administration official, every President between Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton took advantage of rescission.
President Trump's rescission will thus represent a return to form after several administrations worth of irregular use. It will deviate from form in one important way, however: according to the same official, the $15 billion that Trump intends to return is the largest rescission package ever.
Senior administration officials said that Tuesday's package is expected to be the first of several, as part of a broader effort to curb needless spending. Rep. Mark Walker (R., N.C.) told the Washington Post in an interview that he and his House colleagues were positive about the cuts, and that they saw them as more than just posturing from the White House.
"I hope it's never painted that this is just symbolic or a political gesture. We think it's very legitimate," Walker said.