Power of the Purse
February 11, 2020

The White House rolled out President Trump's $4.8 trillion budget blueprint on Monday, mixing hikes in military and border spending with sharp cuts to almost every domestic program in a quixotic or cynical nod toward eventual fiscal rectitude. Nobody expected Congress to embrace all of Trump's ideas, but Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) said Monday he plans to ignore all of it.

In speech on the Senate floor, Enzi encouraged people "not to waste any time searching out the president's budget cuts. Nobody has listened to the president in the 23 years that I've been here. Congress doesn't pay attention to the president's budget exercise. I don't know why we put him through that." He said he wouldn't hold any hearings on Trump's budget, noting he similarly ignored former President Barack Obama's final budget blueprint.

"Congress doesn't pay any attention to the president's budget exercise," Enzi said, according to The Hill. "It's all it is — an exercise. Congress holds the purse strings, according to the Constitution, and Congress is very protective of that constitutional authority."

The Senate Finance Committee is hearing budget testimony from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar this week, however, and White House and congressional budget officials will also testify before the House on Trump's budget proposals. "If you want the animosity of a budget hearing," go watch the House hearings, Enzi suggested. "You can take that in and get your dose of animosity if you want." Peter Weber

November 19, 2019

The California Department of General Services announced late Friday that the state will only purchase hybrids and electric cars and trucks, with an exception for some public safety vehicles. In the statement, the department also said California will only buy state vehicles from companies that "recognize the California Air Resources Board (CARB)'s authority to set greenhouse gas and zero emission vehicle standards."

Essentially, The New York Times reported Monday, California announced it won't buy state vehicles from GM, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, and some smaller automakers that sided with the Trump administration last month in its fight to strip California of its right to set its own tailpipe emission standards. Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW of North America reached agreement with California over the summer to make more fuel-efficient vehicles through 2025.

"Carmakers that have chosen to be on the wrong side of history will be on the losing end of California's buying power," Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said in a statement. GM told the Times that California is undermining its own "goal of minimizing the state government's carbon footprint" by refusing to buy "vehicles like the Chevy Bolt." California seems to think it has enough other hybrid and electric vehicles to choose from. Peter Weber

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