President Trump on Tuesday officially asked Congress to reverse an unprecedented $15.4 billion from a recently passed government funding bill, including billions from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which provides child healthcare to low-income families.
The cuts would come as part of a so-called rescission package, which allows the president to send a bill to Congress to strip spending from the omnibus spending bill passed in March. Congress will have 45 days to approve the request in a measure that is not subject to a Senate filibuster. If passed, it would be the largest “rescission” package in American history.
President Trump wants to trim $15 billion in government spending. His plan includes cutting ~$7 billion from the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). @PressSec does NOT mention the CHIP cuts in her explainer… 👇👇👇 pic.twitter.com/qi1QlnNLMy
— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) May 8, 2018
Administration officials said the package would cut about $7 billion from the CHIP as well as about $800 million from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation program created by the Affordable Care Act, reports Business Insider.
“If enacted, these rescissions would decrease Federal outlays in the affected accounts by an estimated $3.0 billion,” Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a letter to the president on the request.
Democrats blasted the proposal. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized the focus on CHIP, which helps provide coverage for 9 million children from low-income backgrounds.
“Let’s be honest about what this is: President Trump and Republicans in Congress are looking to tear apart the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), hurting middle-class families and low-income children, to appease the most conservative special interests and feel better about blowing up the deficit to give the wealthiest few and biggest corporations huge tax breaks,” Schumer said in a statement.
“These Republican rescissions show the hypocrisy of a GOP Congress that insists on tight budgets for children and families while handing enormous, unpaid-for giveaways to corporations and the wealthiest,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday night.
Sen. Susan Collins expressed hesitation over the president’s request on Monday.
“I would have to have an awfully good reason given to me, and maybe there is one,” Collins said.
According to Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, the rescission package cuts funds for two CHIP accounts: $5.1 billion authorized in 2015 to bolster reimbursements to states for children’s health care costs, and another $1.9 billion from a contingency fund created in order to prevent states from running out of money.
“Congress is aware of this, and over the last several years, they have come to bipartisan agreements about how to reallocate this budget authority to allow for investments in other programs that serve children,” Georgetown CCF writes. “Rescinding these funds is unlikely to impact states’ CHIP programs immediately, but it violates that bipartisan agreement in Congress to manage these funds in ways that continue to help low income children and families.”
“None of the CHIP programs that have just been reauthorized would be impacted in any way should this rescissions package pass,” Mulvaney told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday.
The Hill adds:
Some of the other categories in the rescission request include $4.3 billion from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program in the Energy Department, which the White House says has not issued a loan since 2011; leftover funds designated for the Ebola outbreak that has since been quashed; and $800 million from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which the White House says is due to receive an automatic top-up from mandatory spending anyway.
The Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative House caucus, voiced its approval for the package and called for its passage in the Senate, where it faces skepticism from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“Instead of making excuses for why keeping our promises is not possible, Mitch McConnell should make every effort to pass this package,” the caucus said in a resolution adopted by its steering committee.
The package is also a way to quell conservative fears of a ballooning deficit, which has only been exacerbated by the $1.3 trillion dollar spending bill President Donald Trump signed last month.
Some experts have called the package a “PR stunt.” That’s because the $15 billion in rescission cuts only represent 0.9 percent of the $1.6 billion dollars in spending Trump has approved since November alone. The rescissions package doesn’t even address the $1.3 trillion dollar omnibus spending bill Trump was so reluctant to sign. Instead, funding for domestic programs appropriated years ago will be targeted. Because of this, the deficit likely won’t be impacted.
“It’s not a large spending cut, and it’s not going to offset the damage done earlier this year,” Marc Goldwein, senior policy director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told the Washington Post.
The GOP tax bill has also played a significant role in getting the deficit to its current state. It is estimated to have added at least $1.3 trillion to the deficit over 10 years and largely benefits major corporations.