Trump is attempting to use an obscure tactic to cut $15 billion from programs -- including children's health insurance

  • President Donald Trump will introduce a rescission package to cut $US15 billion in already approved spending from the federal budget.
  • The cuts would come from the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation program, and the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program.
  • The rescission package is subject to approval by a simple majority in Congress, but passage is not guaranteed.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday will unveil a plan to reverse roughly $US15 billion in already approved spending, with possible cuts to children’s healthcare and other programs.

The cuts would come as part of a so-called rescission package, which allows the president to send a bill to Congress to strip spending from the omnibus spending bill passed in March.

Administration officials said the package would cut about $US7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which was previously authorised but unused, as well as about $US800 million from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation program created by the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law better known as Obamacare.

Outside of healthcare, the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program, which helps support the development of fuel-efficient cars, would see $US4.3 billion clawed back. Another 30 programs would also face various cuts as part of the package.

Trump has expressed discontent with the massive omnibus package, which is expected to significantly increase the federal budget deficit – something Republicans have bemoaned, though most of the projected increase comes from the omnibus package and the new GOP tax law.

It is unclear whether Congress will pass the rescission package.

The Trump administration wanted to send a much larger rescission package to Congress but softened it amid pushback from party leadership. Conservative GOP House members said Monday that the White House had promised that Tuesday’s rescission package would be the first of many.

Democrats blasted the proposal. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticised the focus on CHIP, which helps provide coverage for 9 million children from low-income backgrounds.

“Let’s be honest about what this is: President Trump and Republicans in Congress are looking to tear apart the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), hurting middle-class families and low-income children, to appease the most conservative special interests and feel better about blowing up the deficit to give the wealthiest few and biggest corporations huge tax breaks,” Schumer said in a statement.

The House is expected to pass the package, but moderate Senate Republicans may balk at the healthcare cuts. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican who blocked the GOP’s efforts to repeal Obamacare, expressed hesitation.

“I would have to have an awfully good reason given to me, and maybe there is one,” Collins told reporters Monday.

Referring to the program by its original name, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, Collins added: “I don’t know why there would be funds left in the SCHIP account, but that’s a program that I was an original co-sponsor of with Senators Hatch and Kennedy years ago, and it matters a lot to me.”

Republicans hold a one-seat majority in the Senate, meaning the GOP would need to hold the support of all its members or flip a Democrat.

According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, the congressional appropriations committees have 25 days to approve or block the package, and Congress has 45 days overall to vote on the measure. The rescission package can pass on a simple-majority vote.

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