Washington Examiner | May 7, 2018
Americans work hard for their money and expect their tax dollars to be spent wisely. Yet most Americans would be rightly upset to learn that Washington has allocated billions of dollars to be spent on autopilot for programs that are no longer necessary or even in use.
President Trump and the Republican majorities in Congress are taking steps to cut wasteful spending and restore our fiscal footing. We’re able to do so with or without Democratic cooperation by using the Impoundment Act, part of the 1974 Budget Act, which allows spending cuts or “rescissions” to be proposed under fast-track procedures in the House and Senate, meaning only 51 votes are needed in the Senate for approval.
To be sure, cutting wasteful spending should not be a partisan exercise. From the Ford to Clinton administrations, rescissions were commonplace — President Ronald Reagan had 214 rescissions accepted by Congress, while Bill Clinton had 111 accepted. Altogether, rescissions have cut $25 billion in spending.
Even House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said that he would not outright oppose rescinding “money laying in an account that has not been spent for 1, 2, 3 years,” going so far as to say that it was “a reasonable thing to do.”
The Senate would seem to agree, given that a bipartisan group of 81 Senators voted in 2011 to support rescinding tens of billions of dollars in unobligated balances identified by Barack Obama’s Office of Management and Budget.
But as the “resistance” grabs a greater hold of the Democratic Party, commonsense statements like these are lost in translation.
Last summer, the House passed all 12 appropriations bills. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats blocked debate on every single one of these bills. Shouldn’t Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Chuck Schumer be forced to show America what their spending priorities are?
In the face of this extraordinary gridlock, Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration have turned to unconventional and creative measures to get things done and address the challenges facing our country that Democrats of the resistance would be happy to ignore.
Prior to this Congress, the Congressional Review Act (another rare procedural tool that requires only a simple majority vote in the House and Senate) had been used just one time in history. This Congress, we have successfully used the Congressional Review Act 15 times to repeal burdensome regulations proposed in the twilight of the Obama administration. Together, these regulatory repeals have saved businesses more than $4 billion in compliance costs.
And by passing a budget and unlocking reconciliation, Republicans cut taxes and reformed the tax code for the first time in three decades despite unanimous Democratic opposition.
These challenges to the status quo show that Republicans in Washington are committed to getting the job done. We will enact changes voters have been asking for but have long been blocked by the entrenched political class. By using the Impoundment Act to cut wasteful spending, Democrats will now be forced to debate and defend their budget priorities in front of the public.
I am confident they will find no good excuse to delay giving the bloated federal budget a much-needed spring cleaning.