Today, President Trump sent Congress what’s known as a rescissions package to make necessary budget reductions to ensure fiscal responsibility and keep more money in the pockets of taxpayers. This package targets unobligated funds that can no longer legally be spent on the programs, money that is no longer needed, and other duplication in the federal budget—targeting a total of $15 billion in savings to taxpayers. There will likely be a lot of partisan and misleading attacks on this proposal, so I wanted to take a few minutes to provide you with some facts about what it will do.
First, this rescissions package would draw savings from two accounts within the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The funds in these accounts are either no longer necessary or cannot be spent because authority to obligate them expired last year. These rescissions will have no real-world impact on kids’ access to health care services offered through CHIP, the ability to enroll in the program, or future funding of it. One account is the Children’s Health Insurance Fund, an account to help reimburse states for certain expenses, but the ability to use this money expired last fall. The other savings are from a reduction in the Child Enrollment Contingency Fund. This fund helps states with higher-than-expected enrollment, however current projections do not anticipate the need for this funding as enrollment is expected to remain steady this year due to improved economic growth. In fact, even with this reduction, this is still the largest overall level of funding left in the Child Enrollment Contingency Fund ever. The total savings from these two accounts with unspent, unusable funds is $7 billion.
It’s also important to note that this is just a proposal, and Congress has the ability to make changes as it moves through the process. I am a strong supporter of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is why I fought for a 10-year extension of the program earlier this year, the longest and most generous extension in the program’s history. CHIP is something both Republicans and Democrats agree must continue to be a priority to provide certainty to more than 60,000 children in Washington state, and their families, who rely on this critical program. But it’s important to keep in mind that these funding reductions could never have been legally spent on CHIP as they have expired under law or are no longer needed.
Other savings in the rescissions package include:
- $4.3 billion in funding from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, funding that has been untouched since 2011;
- $523 million in unused balances from Title 17 of the Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program – a fund that ballooned under the stimulus. The authority to make new guarantees also lapsed in 2011;
- $252 million in unused funds from the 2015 Ebola outbreak response;
- $133 million in remaining funds from the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits program which expired in 2012;
- And $148 million in funding from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for responding to disease outbreaks that have since been resolved.
Again, this package targets unused money that is either no longer authorized or remaining in programs that have since expired or is no longer needed. In order for Congress to do its job to exercise the power of the purse it must properly review, rethink, and conduct oversight over federal spending. That’s what this rescissions package does, and by doing so it protects taxpayers so you and your family can keep more of your hard-earned dollars, not send them to Washington, D.C.
My mission is to restore trust and confidence in representative government and the rule of law. In order to build trust, we need to be doing our job to create a fiscally responsible government that sets funding priorities and sticks to them. I encourage you to reach out to my office with further questions about this proposal and stay updated throughout the process. You can also follow along on Facebook and Twitter to regular updates on my work in the People’s House.