President Joe Biden wrote to Congress on Sunday, announcing that he would take action to unfreeze $27.4 billion in wasteful government budget dollars that had been put under lock and key by former President Donald Trump. Only a few days before the new president was sworn in, Trump used rescission to make budget cuts that scooped out some of the unnecessary expenditures authorized by Congress in the last omnibus bill.
“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,” explains the House Committee on the Budget.
Without congressional approval, these funds would have automatically become unfrozen within 45 days, but Biden is apparently not waiting that long.
“I am withdrawing 73 proposed rescissions previously transmitted to the Congress,” Biden said in the letter.
In December, Trump said that while he was willing to sign the funding legislation provided to him by Congress, he wouldn’t do so without making some after-the-fact cuts.
“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,” Trump wrote at the time.
The Hill later reported that Trump’s letter to Congress “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 his announcement, Biden made it clear that he would restore funding to the agencies listed above as well as the African Development Foundation, the Commission of Fine Arts, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and (of course) the Legislative Branch, among many others. We’re sure he will be a cautious and careful steward of the taxpayer money that flows into these agencies as a result of his rescission rollback. Very, very sure.