Tag: rescission

This Was The Worst Week EVER For GOP Federal Budget Nonsense

 

There was so much Trump White House-caused and GOP Congress-induced nonsense (and definitely I’m pulling my punches here) last week on almost everything having to do with the federal budget that it’s impossible to pick the worst of the lot.

Maybe it was Donald Trump confirming what budget wonks like me have been predicting for some time: There’s a real chance he’ll throw a tantrum this fall and shutdown the federal government if he doesn’t get the $25 billion dollars he wants for his wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Or maybe it was the president telling the Pentagon to start a new space force (Flash Gordon lives! See below) even though Congress hasn’t provided an appropriation for it.

Perhaps it was that (contrary to recently established Republican and Trump orthodoxy that an authorization is needed for every appropriation) the Trump space force hasn’t even been authorized yet so no appropriation (according to the GOP) should be possible.

(FYI…Contrary to what Republicans say, there is no constitutional or statutory requirement for authorizations.)

It could be the House and Senate Appropriations Committees refusing to do their jobs by not asking where the White House is getting the money to pay for everything involved in separating children from their families.

Then again, it really could be the Senate’s outright rejection of one of Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s highest priorities — the first of what we’ve repeatedly been told will be multiple “rescission” bills.

The GOP Senate majority rejected the Trump rescission even though it would have mostly cut previously enacted appropriations that were never going to be spent anyway.

Of course, it could be the federal government consolidation plan that Mulvaney announced (and made sure he himself got credit for developing) but which at this point in the congressional session has little-to-no chance of being considered and even less of being adopted.

(Consider this: Mulvaney couldn’t even get the GOP-controlled Senate to approve a rescission plan that was almost totally symbolic. How is he ever going to convince it to do a massive reorganization that will have a far more negative political impact?)

There was also the House Budget Committee’s approval of a fiscal 2019 budget resolution that was adopted more than two months after the statutory deadline for Congress as a whole — not just a committee — to agree on something.

But missing the deadline by two-plus months was actually far less ludicrous than the fact that the committee-approved budget resolution includes $5.4 trillion in politically unacceptable cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other mandatory programs that may never be voted on by the full House and won’t be considered by the Senate.

In other words, the House Budget Committee was both very late and doing something that was incredibly superfluous. Saying that it was “symbolic” is giving it way to much credit.

And all this happened just this past week.

 

There’s much more here:

Congress Could Use The Budget Process To Stop Trump’s Child Separation Policy

You’ve Been Warned: Trump’s Trillion Dollar Budget Deficits Are Here To Stay

Fasten Your Seat Belts: It’s Going To Be A Very Bumpy Rest Of The Year In Washington

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Trump Again Shows He’s All Talk On The Deficit And Debt

The “rescission”’ bill the GOP-controlled House of Representatives passed Thursday night is the just latest example of what Donald Trump thinks of anything and everything related to the federal budget: It’s just one big public relations stunt.

According to the superlative-loving Trump, this rescission – a presidential proposal for Congress to “unappropriate” previously enacted spending – is the biggest ever requested by any president.

But that’s only true if, as he’s doing, Trump takes credit for the bill’s unreal and unrealistic top line…what budget wonks call “budget authority.”

Trump is actually mostly proposing to cut appropriations that were never going to be spent anyway. Even if its enacted, the real impact of the Trump rescission on the federal deficit and national debt will be about 93 percent less than he’s claiming, or only about $1 billion.

A billion dollars is definitely worth saving. But even this much smaller amount overstates the savings from the Trump proposal because it’s not going to be enacted. The Senate GOP leadership has already indicated it has no plans to consider the rescission bill and the legislation would face a virtually certain filibuster anyway if were debated.

That means the most likely impact on the federal deficit and national debt from the Trump rescission plan is…wait for it…$0.

This most recent fiscal escapade is just latest in what has already become a steady series of total budget stunts by the Trump administration.

For example:

Trump’s first fiscal 2018 “budget” only covered about one-third of all federal spending, didn’t mention revenues, didn’t project the deficit or debt and didn’t even include an economic forecast. Not surprisingly, it was ignored by Congress.

Trump’s first full 2018 budget, which was released with lots of fanfare, was also ignored by the Republican House and Senate when the White House walked away from it just a few days after it was released.

The fiscal 2019 budget Trump sent to Congress earlier this year was abandoned so quickly by the White House that it wasn’t even a topic of discussion on that weekend’s political talk shows.

And who could ever forget the spectacle from this past March when Trump signed the fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriation and then minutes later angrily announced that he should have never done it.

That brings us back to the rescission bill stunt.

In response to harsh criticism on Fox News and elsewhere, Trump promised that he would look into ways to cut the domestic spending in the 2018 omnibus appropriation his signature had just enacted. The rescission bill was supposed to be just that: reductions in the spending that bill provided.

But it wasn’t.

In spite of Trump’s post-signing tantrum, his rescission proposals didn’t touch even a dollar of what was included in the omnibus. As noted above, he instead proposed totally meaningless cuts to other programs and then took credit for what he said is a historic budget achievement that in reality is anything but significant.