On Sunday, President Biden sent a letter to congressional leaders announcing that he would reverse former President Trump’s freezing of $27.4 billion in government programs.
On January 14, Trump had used a process called rescission to make the budget cuts.
The House Committee on the Budget explains of rescission:
Put simply, if the President wants to spend less money than Congress provided for a particular purpose, he or she must first secure a law providing Congressional approval to rescind the funding in question. The ICA requires that the President send a special message to Congress identifying the amount of the proposed rescission; the reasons for it; and the budgetary, economic, and programmatic effects of the rescission.
Upon transmission of such special message, the President may withhold certain funding in the affected accounts for up to 45 legislative session days. If a law approving the rescission is not enacted within the 45 days, any withheld funds must be made available for obligation.
The House Committee on the Budget continues, “A 2018 Government Accountability Office legal opinion holds that if the President proposes a rescission, he or she must make the affected funds available to be prudently obligated before the funds expire, even if the 45-day clock is still running. This means, for example, that the President cannot strategically time a rescission request for late in the fiscal year and withhold the funding until it expires, thus achieving a rescission without Congressional approval.”
Trump had asked for 73 cutbacks to the 2021 federal budget totaling $27.4 billion. But on Sunday, Biden wrote, “I am withdrawing 73 proposed rescissions previously transmitted to the Congress.”
The Hill reported of Trump’s attempt to freeze funding: “The letter asked leaders in the House and Senate to impound funds from almost every Cabinet-level agency including the Environmental Protection Agency. The request also included cuts from the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, the Peace Corps and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars among a slew of others.”
In December, Trump stated, “I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed. I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill.”
In his letter, Biden laid out the laundry list of recipients of the funding:
The withdrawals are for the Department of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, the Interior, Justice, Labor, State, and the Treasury, as well as the African Development Foundation, the Commission of Fine Arts, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the District of Columbia, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Inter-American Foundation, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the Peace Corps, the Presidio Trust, the United States Agency for International Development, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Legislative Branch.
NEW: Pres. Biden informs Speaker Pelosi he withdrew 73 proposed budget cuts by the Trump White House in its final week totaling over $27 billion. pic.twitter.com/KLxdydB8BW
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) February 1, 2021