Trump Told Plan to Cut Spending May Not Have Enough Support

(Bloomberg) -- A top Senate Republican said he warned President Donald Trump in a private meeting that an attempt to claw back billions in domestic spending from last month’s $1.3 trillion spending bill may not even get enough GOP votes to pass the Senate.

Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, who’s taken over chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee, said acting on Trump’s plan to seek revisions in the spending plan would blow up an agreement reached after more than a month of negotiations with Democrats.

“My view is that when you make a deal with Democrats you’ve made a deal and you shouldn’t go back on your word,” Shelby said in an interview. “I told him he may not have the votes for that," he said. "We may not act on in it in the committee."

Trump signed the spending legislation last month after threatening to veto it and calling it “ridiculous,” even though the administration was involved in the negotiations. The bill increased military spending by $80 billion this year above previous spending limits and non-defense spending by $63 billion. But it didn’t include money Trump sought to build a wall along the southern U.S. border.

Shortly afterward, the White House began talking with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, a potential successor to House Speaker Paul Ryan, about using a budget maneuver called rescission to cut some of the domestic spending.

‘Keeping Your Word’

But the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, also has thrown cold water on the idea.

“I don’t think it’s a great idea because keeping your word is pretty important," the New Jersey Republican told reporters Tuesday.

The obscure provision of the 1974 budget act that the White House wants to use allows Congress to cancel spending with a simple majority in the Senate instead of 60 votes, meaning Democrats can be bypassed.

Shelby, who met Trump at the White House Wednesday during his first full day as chairman, along with White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Vice President Mike Pence, said that some of his fellow Republicans may object.

“It would be hard to move,” he said. “It depends on the particulars. Maybe they send up something that everyone wants to get rid of.”

Trump and Mulvaney gave no indication of the size of the cuts they want or when the proposal would be submitted to Congress for approval, he said.

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