President Donald Trump is asking Congress to cancel approximately $15 billion in previously authorized spending, using a process known as rescission.
As provided for in Section 1012 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, Congress has 45 working days to approve with a simple majority, alter, or ignore the request to rescind funds previously authorized.
Spending vs. Freedom
Charles Baird, a former economics professor at California State University–East Bay and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute, which publishes Budget & Tax News, says spending cuts are usually good because government spending directly reduces people’s freedom.
“A large amount of government spending is used to tell the private sector people what they should do and force them to do so,” Baird said. “People become less free, less able to use their own means, and means they acquire through voluntary exchange, to pursue their own ends.”
Romina Boccia, deputy director of The Heritage Foundation’s Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, says final authority remains with Congress once spending is authorized.
“The president submits the request to Congress, then Congress has 45 days to respond or ignore the president’s proposal,” Boccia said. “Congress can alter the proposal, or Congress can pass the president’s proposal in both the House and the Senate, with a simple majority vote.”
Boccia says Trump’s proposal would simply return unused resources to taxpayers.
“This rescissions package specifically targets unspent funds that can either no longer be spent because the authority to spend them has expired, but they are still on the books, or funds that have gone unspent for several years and are no longer planned to be spent because priorities have changed,” Boccia said.