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Senate Nixes Plan for $15B Spending Cut06/21 06:11

   In a rebuke to President Donald Trump, the Republican-controlled Senate on 
Wednesday blocked a White House plan to cut almost $15 billion in unused 
government money slated for children's health insurance and other programs.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a rebuke to President Donald Trump, the 
Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday blocked a White House plan to cut 
almost $15 billion in unused government money slated for children's health 
insurance and other programs.

   Two Republicans --- Susan Collins of Maine and Richard Burr of North 
Carolina --- joined with Democrats to defeat the measure. Fifty senators 
opposed the plan and 48 supported it.

   The so-called rescissions package would take a mostly symbolic whack at 
government spending because it would eliminate leftover funding that likely 
would not have been spent anyway. The name comes from the fact the plan would 
have rescinded previously approved spending.

   Trump and GOP conservatives had embraced the plan following passage in March 
of a $1.3 trillion catchall spending bill they say was too bloated.

   The GOP-controlled House narrowly passed the spending cuts earlier this 
month after the White House urged lawmakers "to return this funding to the 
Federal Treasury rather than use it as a budgetary gimmick to offset spending 
elsewhere."

   The budget deficit is on track to exceed $800 billion this year despite a 
strong economy.

   Democrats complained that the rescissions plan would take away $7 billion 
from the popular Children's Health Insurance Program so it couldn't be used 
later.

   Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the idea that Republicans would claw back 
billions of dollars from children's health insurance, affordable housing and 
rural development after forcing through massive tax cuts "goes beyond 
laughable. It's unconscionable."

   But Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said spending rescissions were a common practice 
in past decades and were usually done on a bipartisan basis.

   "Returning unused taxpayer money isn't just good government. In a republic, 
it should be expected. It should be the norm," Lee said.

   Burr's opposition was unexpected and came after he was not guaranteed a vote 
on his amendment to protect funding for land and water conservation. The 
rescissions package included $16 million in land and water conservation funds 
designated for the Forest Service and promised to specific projects.

   Burr and other senators led a bipartisan news conference Wednesday to mark 
100 days until the conservation program expires unless Congress votes to 
reauthorize it. The 54-year-old fund boosts outdoor recreation, conservation 
and preservation nationwide while supporting millions of jobs and contributing 
billions of dollars to the U.S. economy, Burr said.

   Collins said in a statement Wednesday that the rescissions package was 
unnecessary.

   "My belief is that it's the job of Congress to comb through these accounts, 
and that's what we do on the (Senate) Appropriations Committee," she said.


(KA)

 
 
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