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With less than a week left in his 4-year presidency, Donald Trump moved to freeze billions of dollars using the 1974 Budget Impoundment Control Act. On Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, he sent a letter to Congress requesting they rescind budget authority as requested — cutting $27.4 billion from the 2021 budget.
According to The Washington Post, his administration cannot unilaterally cancel the funding. However, they can bog the process down. Legislators will likely deny Trump’s request, but the time it takes for Congress to recover the monies will allow the president to freeze the funds until he leaves office on January 20.
Trump was not happy with the spending allotted in the last two major spending bills to cross his desk in December 2020. The first was the joint COVID-19 stimulus/2021 government budget, the other the defense spending bill. He delayed signing the first over Christmas only to begrudgingly signing it into law on Dec. 27, 2020 — one day after 14 million Americans lost their emergency unemployment benefits that expired the day before.
Trump Move Retaliates Against Congress, Biden, and Americans
After signing the bill, Trump stated he would send legislators a redlined copy indicating the items he considered to be wasteful. Many were dollars set to fund domestic programs and monies allocated to foreign governments. During his presidency, he has pushed back against what he considers wasteful spending, and Congress has blocked him each time.
Trump is using the 1974 Budget Impoundment Control Act to hobble the incoming Biden administration’s ability to begin doing business on Jan. 20, 2021, efficiently. Moreover, it appears he is punishing Americans for his failed re-election and his plummeting post-insurrection approval rating.
While reports indicate the exact details on what budgetary items he ordered frozen is unknown, Trump’s complaints after signing the stimulus/budget bill might offer some insight. He criticized using tax dollars to support the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities and funding for independent movie theaters, cultural organizations, and live venues. These may appear non-essential during the pandemic, but without government assistance, they would likely not exist after America has recovered from COVID-19.
The Hill reports Congressional Democrats are livid about Trump’s rescission requests. House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said his cuts for renewable energy, small financial institutions, and international food and vaccine aid were nothing short of immoral.
President Trump’s proposed rescissions attack a broad swath of critical programs that help make life better for Americans and sustain our leadership around the world. Can you think of anything more immoral?
Based on the president’s video posted after signing the stimulus and spending package, some of the frozen monies are likely to include aid to Cambodia, Myanmar, Egypt, Pakistan, and Central America, and more.
Chairman of the House Budget Committee John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said:
These rescissions are filled with damaging and irrational cuts to programs critical in the fight against COVID-19, climate change, and strengthening America’s global leadership.
Fortunately, with the short time remaining in Trump’s administration, the demands will likely result in little more than a temporary delay in these programs.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Hill: Trump seeks to freeze $27.4 billion of programs in final week of presidency; by Joseph Choi and Niv Ellis
The Washington Post: White House moves to freeze some foreign aid, defying Congress in Trump’s final days; by Yeganeh Torbati and John Hudson
Featured and Top Image by Samira Bouaou Courtesy of The Epoch Times’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of New America’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License