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Just as conservatives were winding down the gnashing of teeth at Trump for signing a fat-packed $1.3 trillion omnibus bill, a little known legal loophole has reared its head, giving hope to Republicans while Democrats cry foul. Just the mere mention of Congressional Budget and Impound Control Act, which allows a possible revocation of certain funds, has the left scurrying for their buckets of rocks as they prepare for battle in The Swamp.
The omnibus bill was hotly debated by both sides of the aisle; Trump demanded $80 billion for defense while the Democrats threatened a government shutdown if they were denied $63 billion for domestic programs. It seems a bi-partisan compromise was met; until economic conservatives lost their minds as fiscal watchdogs estimated hidden ‘off-tab’ funding would increase the line item to $251 billion.
Why So Glum Chum?
It seems President Trump just cannot please anyone these days. The Democrats began the finger-pointing and hypocritical name calling on increasing the deficit after getting their pork, and Republicans, bellowing like oxen, felt betrayed. Sean Hannity cried that the Republicans were “abandoning their core principles,” and that they were “taken to the woodshed by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.”
Neither side understands the definition of compromise.
And to be fair, Trump felt cornered and didn’t exactly feel good about signing the bill, saying he would “never” agree or sign any bill like this one again.
As Democrats reveled on the Hill, Republicans on spring recess were met with such hostility from constituents, that lawyers put their heads together and dug into legal government obscurities with the hope of pruning away a few unruly financial branches of the olive tree. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Trump began talks of implementing the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impound Control Act, and for an instant, Democrats became deer in the headlights and required staffers to speak on their behalf. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s (D-MD) spokeswoman Mariel Saez stated that Republicans were pursuing:
“a political stunt to appease their base just weeks after they touted the bill as an important compromise. If they propose to cut important funding for early childhood education, the opioid crisis, infrastructure, public safety, and other domestic priorities, then they can expect strong Democratic opposition.”
Perhaps Trump is trickier than anyone has given credit. Or, with Midterms coming up, conservatives who criticize the foolish and reckless spending of Democrats need to save face in light of the poor optics sure to be plastered across televisions in the near future. It is possibly the best message they have ever had in recent election years and handed to them by Republicans to boot.
And Democrats, again through staff, are testing the waters. A spokesman for Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Matthew Dennis said:
“It would completely poison the well to the idea that there can be responsible bipartisan compromise.” The Republicans are trying “to renege on elements that were critical to passage of the omnibus.”
“It’s a bill that was signed into law with Democratic and Republican votes and with the signature of the president. And they apparently didn’t like the way it played in the media afterwards, so now they’re going to try to call for a do-over.”
Political posturing aside, it would take a herculean effort to impose the decades-old and forgotten provision. Although it allows the White House to propose rescinding funds, it sets a 45-day clock for the House and Senate to vote. There is no wand waving by the Executive Branch; it would once again require a congressional vote.
But stranger things in politics have happened.