Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday shot down White House plans to try to take back some of the billions from last month’s $1.3 trillion spending bill.
The White House is working on the “rescission” plan in concert with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) after conservatives complained about excess domestic spending in the bill, which President Trump signed in March after briefly threatening to veto it.
McConnell said last week that he thought a possible rescission package was worth discussing, but in a Fox News Channel interview Tuesday he came out strongly against it. Aides have said the White House is looking to pare back $30 billion to $60 billion in spending from the “omnibus” bill.
“Well, he agreed to it, you know. He was involved in the negotiation and signed the bill,” McConnell said of Trump. “You can’t make an agreement one month and say, ‘Okay, we really didn’t mean it.’ ”
“We had an agreement with the Democrats,” McConnell said of the legislation, which was negotiated among the top Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. Republicans pushed for high levels of defense spending, and in exchange Democrats demanded generous domestic spending. The result was a massive deal that busted through spending caps while funding the government — and staving off a shutdown — for the remainder of the 2018 budget year.
Referring to Trump, Fox host Neil Cavuto asked McConnell, “Was his shock legitimate when he claimed that he was stunned by what was in that?”
McConnell replied: “Well, he may have been, but he and his people were involved in the negotiation. They agreed to it, and he signed the bill.”
Asked about McConnell’s comments a short time later, McCarthy argued that “this is not about the omni; this is about finding ways to save money.”
He added, “So I think it’s premature to say whether it would work or not if you haven’t even looked at what places we could save money.”