On Tuesday, President Trump will ask Congress to claw back $15 billion in previously approved spending, with $7 billion of that coming from the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), $4.2 billion from a vehicle technology program, $800 million from a health care innovation center created under the Affordable Care Act, and the rest from more than 30 other domestic programs. The "recission" request, which can pass with a simple majority, is expected to be approved by the House though its fate in the Senate is unclear. The last president to request a recission of previously appropriated funds was Bill Clinton, whose three requests totaled $128 million.
Trump is responding to outrage from conservatives over the $1.3 trillion spending package he signed March. This request would not touch that spending package, but the White House says Trump will soon request clawing back domestic appropriations from that law, too. A White House official described this first request as reclaiming pots of money that "are just sitting in accounts" unused.
"The White House is attempting to portray this as Trump forcing Washington to clean up its financial act," says The Washington Post's Heather Long, "but some perspective is needed":
Since becoming president, Trump enacted a massive tax cut for corporations and many individuals that is projected to add at least $1.3 trillion to the deficit over the next decade (plus additional interest costs), according to the Congressional Budget Office. Then Congress and the president agreed to a two-year budget deal that will add $300 billion more to America's debt, the CBO says. After approving an additional $1,600,000,000 in spending since December alone, Trump now wants to cut $15,000,000 (or 0.9 percent). [The Washington Post]
"This is not a deficit reduction exercise, but more of a public relations exercise to soothe the base and convince them that the White House is fiscally responsible," G. William Hoagland, a former Senate budge director now at the Bipartisan Policy Center, tells Politico.