By Printus LeBlanc
When President Donald Trump signed the omnibus spending bill back in March, he did so reluctantly. The swamp knew the President’s feelings for the military and hid behind them to fill the omnibus with wasteful spending. The President signed it, hoping some of the spending would be later rescinded. After all, who on Capitol Hill wants to fund programs that do nothing and waste money. The President and the American people got their answer when the Senate continued to do what it does best, disappoint the taxpayers.
It is bad enough the House barely passed its modest $15 billion rescission package, but the Senate failing to pass the measure is downright embarrassing. The bill failed 48-50 with two Republicans voting to continue wasting money on government programs that don’t do anything. One has to wonder why Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) crossed the aisle to vote with hardline progressives to fund programs that do nothing?
What about Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)? Doesn’t he claim to be a fiscal conservative?
One of the most aggravating examples of government waste is the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. The program provides taxpayer-funded loans to automobile and automobile part manufacturers for the cost of re-equipping, expanding, or establishing manufacturing facilities in the United States to produce advanced technology vehicles for qualified components and for associated engineering integration costs.
However, the program has only given five total loans since it was created in 2007 and has not given a loan since 2011. Yet Congress still funded this program that does nothing to the tune of $4.3 billion. The President, using common sense, doesn’t believe funding a program, that once again hasn’t done anything since 2011, makes sound fiscal wisdom.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was another program targeted by the Trump administration. The White House submitted a rescission of $5.1 billion for the program, not to close the program or reduce the coverage of the program, but to remove the excess funds. The White House explained the cuts would not have a negative impact on the amount or quality of coverage. Congress just spent too much.
Congressional Budget Office agreed with the President issuing a report on the proposed rescission stating, “based on information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CBO projects that the rescission from the Child Enrollment Contingency Fund would not affect payments to states over the 2018-2028 period… would not affect outlays, or the number of individuals with insurance coverage.”
This begs the question, what was the extra money going to if it wasn’t going to have an impact?
In another example of Congress spending money on nothing, Congress appropriated almost $400 million to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture. The White House requested to rescind $148 million of the original appropriations. The original funding contained monies for disease outbreak responses that have long been resolved, like the pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in 2015.
It seems like an open and shut case. The disease outbreak has been resolved, quit spending taxpayer funds on it.
These are just a few examples of the modest $15 billion the President requested to be rescinded. Out of a budget in the trillions, the President tried to prove Washington D.C. is serious about cutting wasteful spending by suggesting a modest cut. The House did its job and passed the rescissions, but the Senate wanted to continue wasteful spending on programs not in existence anymore.
It is a disgrace the rescissions package failed, but at least the voters found out who is serious about getting Washington D.C. under control. Particularly the voters in the ten states with Democrat incumbents that President Trump won in the presidential election. Voters to a certain extent have come to expect betrayals like this from Republican senators like Burr and Collins. But Sen. Joe Manchin is going to have a hard time explaining to the people of West Virginia why he voted to fund programs that no longer exist.
– – –
Printus LeBlanc is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.