On behalf of FreedomWorks activists nationwide, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to vote YES on the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act, H.R. 3. This bill would rescind roughly $15 billion in unobligated budget authorities from previous years. The rescissions were requested by President Trump under the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974.
This tool, commonly referred to as “rescissions,” was established in the 1974 law and had been used every year, by presidents from both parties, from 1974 through 2000. Over the full quarter-century that the tool was consistently used, nearly $76 billion in rescissions have been proposed.
Although a rescissions request hasn’t been made in over 17 years, the time is more ripe than ever right now for conservatives to throw their weight behind any and all tools available to reduce spending. In an effort to “build legislative muscle memory” for using the rescissions tool, the White House has requested rescinding funds from past years, either for which spending authority has expired, or for which there have been, and still are, no plans to spend the funds.
The White House has said that this package is the first installment in a series of rescissions packages to be crafted and transmitted to Congress. This package sent to Congress from the White House includes only rescissions from past years.
With an ever-rising national debt of over $21 trillion and a projection from the Congressional Budget Office that the debt held by the public will nearly eclipse the size of the economy by 2028, we desperately need fiscal responsibility in Washington. Ideally, this would be a true cap on spending that results in a balanced budget.
However, small steps are better than no steps. Unobligated funds are used as fake offsets in appropriations bills to allow for higher spending. It is important to take away the opportunity to repurpose the spending as offsets by rescinding them.
The White House’s hope, which we share, is that the success of this initial large, yet less controversial, rescissions package will oil the wheels of the rescissions tool to be able to approve multiple other packages this year. With this tool, conservatives can begin to address, at least in part, the disastrous state of our country’s finances.
Approving this initial $15 billion rescissions request in full — pulling back funds sitting in useless accounts that can only otherwise be used to spend more in the future — is a task that conservatives in Congress should wholeheartedly endorse. It is one of few opportunities to exercise any semblance of fiscal discipline. It is only one small step towards actually tackling Washington’s out-of-control spending addiction, but it represents a chance to begin this fight.
FreedomWorks will count the vote for the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act, H.R. 3, on our 2018 Congressional Scorecard. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks