Trump WH Asking Congress to Return Unspent Billions, Including 2011 Stimulus Money

By Susan Jones | May 8, 2018 | 8:57 AM EDT

Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney (Photo: Screen capture/C-SPAN)

( - President Donald Trump on Tuesday is asking Congress to return $15 billion in unspent taxpayer dollars to the U.S. Treasury.

"This is money that previous Congresses have said, here, Department of Energy, you take this couple of billions dollars; or HHS, you take this couple of billion, and it never gets spent. And it just sits there in these accounts.

"Some of this money that we're rescinding, and I'm not making this up, is stimulus money from 2011 that simply hasn't been spent yet. So it's your money, it's sitting there, and we're going out to find it. We looked under every rock that we've been able to; we've found about $15 billion, and we hope Congress gives it back to the taxpayers."

Mulvaney said if the recissions package passes, it will be the largest one in history. "Keep in mind, most presidents used to do this," Mulvaney said. He noted that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has voted for such packages before, and he said it will be interesting to see what Democrats do, now that Trump is president.

The Trump White House received a lot of Republican criticism (and Democrat applause) when it approved a massive $1.3 trillion omnibus spending deal in March.

On Tuesday, Mulvaney described that spending package as "the extortion payment we had to pay to defend the nation."

"Every time we asked for additional dollars for defense, the Democrats said fine, we have to give you that, but we want this nondefense spending over here. That's how that number got as large as it was. The President turns to me and said, 'OK, we had to do that deal to defend the nation, where can you find money to save?' And that's what this recissions package is," Mulvaney said.

Responding to Democrat criticism that Republicans are raiding money from the Children's Health Insurance Program, Mulvaney said the CHIP program is not allowed to spend the money in question because Congress has not authorized the disbursement. "It would be illegal for them to write that check," he said. Another part of the recission affecting the CHIP program is money reserved for the states that they have not requested, he added.

On March 23, President Trump tweeted: "As a matter of National Security I've signed the Omnibus Spending Bill. I say to Congress: I will NEVER sign another bill like this again. To prevent this omnibus situation from ever happening again, I'm calling on Congress to give me a line-item veto for all govt spending bills!"

Of course, all presidents want a line-item veto, but the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1998.

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