Rescission Politics

The proposed rescission of CHIPS and other funding, along with the promise of more rescission messages from the White House, surely is the work of Mick Mulvaney with little or no consultation with congressional leaders.  Casting votes for spending cuts might be something many Republicans would like to do to recover a bit of credibility after their deficit-generating efforts on taxes and omnibus appropriations. Doing so might help a few incumbent Republicans deal with grumbling Republicans about the rising deficits.

The problem with the first rescission proposal is that it is a set of specific spending cuts on popular programs. Democrats have a tactical advantage on most specific domestic programs. While tax and spending are not popular as general propositions, spending on specific health, education, environmental, and many other programs usually are popular.

Forcing congressional Republicans to vote on cuts to popular programs will cost Republicans votes in November.  While Mulvaney and Freedom Caucus allies in the House are eager to act on deficits in the next few months, they are putting their party at even greater risk. Congressional leaders seem entirely mute in this game so far, and President Trump seems to be oblivious to what is happening around him.