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Walker in Wall Street Journal Op-Ed: "Start Cutting Spending—and Don’t Stop"

May 9, 2018
Press Release
Mitch McConnell should drop his threat to block rescissions affecting the omnibus.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal highlighting the rescissions package that President Donald Trump submitted to Congress on Tuesday, and why it is important to pass, calling it "the epilogue to March’s spending saga."

"Mr. McConnell said Tuesday that he’d consider bringing the president’s initial package to the floor, since it doesn’t affect any of the omnibus spending," Walker wrote. "Still, it’s unclear why a Republican would fight to preserve the dysfunctional process that led to the disastrous omnibus. Voters continuously remind us that Republicans should be doing everything possible to change the broken process. The reality is that Republicans gave their word to the American people to rein in out-of-control spending. Apparently some Republicans prioritize promises to Democrats in backroom deals over promises to the American people. In any case, it is disingenuous to insinuate congressional Republicans or Mr. Trump are trying to pull a fast one with any rescissions package. A Democrat-controlled Congress created the expedited process for rescissions in 1974, which bypasses the filibuster by requiring a simple majority."

Read the op-ed in its entirety here and below:

Start Cutting Spending—and Don’t Stop
The Wall Street Journal
By: Reps. Mark Walker 
May 8, 2018

Washington is more broken even than the politicians are willing to admit. Case in point: When President Trump submitted his rescissions package Tuesday, its passage in the Senate was still in doubt.

The rescissions package is the epilogue to March’s spending saga, when Mr. Trump threatened to veto the congressional omnibus and pledged never to sign such a bill again. Now after the omnibus increased annual discretionary spending by $137 billion, Mr. Trump has proposed to claw back $15.4 billion in waste.

Rescissions aren’t merely a Republican political maneuver against Democrats. President Clinton used the process 166 times to save more than $3.5 billion. While effective, the most recent package sent by President Trump is especially innocuous, politically speaking, clawing back unneeded, unspent funds, some of which were appropriated as far back as 1993.

But some powerful lawmakers have warned against rescission. One of the first was Mr. McConnell, who told Fox News that rescission would jeopardize future budget negotiations with Democrats: “You can’t make an agreement one month and say, ‘OK, we really didn’t mean it.’ ”

Mr. McConnell said Tuesday that he’d consider bringing the president’s initial package to the floor, since it doesn’t affect any of the omnibus spending. Still, it’s unclear why a Republican would fight to preserve the dysfunctional process that led to the disastrous omnibus. Voters continuously remind us that Republicans should be doing everything possible to change the broken process.

The reality is that Republicans gave their word to the American people to rein in out-of-control spending. Apparently some Republicans prioritize promises to Democrats in backroom deals over promises to the American people.

In any case, it is disingenuous to insinuate congressional Republicans or Mr. Trump are trying to pull a fast one with any rescissions package. A Democrat-controlled Congress created the expedited process for rescissions in 1974, which bypasses the filibuster by requiring a simple majority.

It is also worthwhile to reflect on how Congress arrived in this position in the first place. Last September, the House performed its constitutional duty and passed all the appropriations bills required to fund fully the federal government. We sent those bills to the Senate before the beginning of the fiscal year—and Mr. McConnell sat on them. This decision held vital national-security funding hostage, and teed up the backroom process that led to the 2,232-page omnibus, which passed less than two days after being made public.

Loaded into the whole debate about rescissions is the notion that Congress has its hands tied. Nobody can accuse the Founding Fathers of being unclear on Congress’s power of the purse. In recent years, it has become commonplace for members to complain about legislative items and throw up their hands in frustration. If a law needs to be changed or spending levels need to be changed, Congress can do that at any time by its own prerogative.

The package Mr. Trump sent yesterday is good, and his base should be encouraged in this moment of fiscal restraint. Hopefully, the package is the first of many. Now, Congress has to do its job.

Mr. Walker is chairman of the Republican Study Committee. He represents North Carolina’s Sixth District.