Trump Tries Impoundment Control Act To Cut Spending

Trump Tries Impoundment Control Act To Cut Spending

Trump Tries Impoundment Control Act To Cut Spending

The shutdown is averted, COVID relief and unemployment relief is assured, but President Trump is not done yet.

In the waning days of his adminstration, President Trump has been pushing for the COVID relief bill to include a bigger direct payment – to the point of threatening to veto the whole kit and caboodle (not just the National Defense Authorization Act) in order to make a point about getting more of the pork stripped out and money into the hands of the American people. If Trump was going to be staying in the White House, this whole scenario would have likely played out much differently, because he would have had more leverage beyond Inauguration Day.

But in the end, Trump signed the bills – mostly because something is better than nothing, and now he feels like he will be in a better position to demand more direct help.

And he’s said that he wants to use the Impoundment Control Act to do so.


What is the Impoundment Control Act? Enacted in 1974 in response to President Nixon, Congress laid out very specific causes and processes for any future president to rescind, reserve, or defer authorized budgetary spending. In this case, President Trump is invoking 2 U.S.C §683 (which can be read here) in order to essentially line-item veto specific parts of the spending bill to increase the direct payments from $600 to $2000 per adult. President Trump, in his statement above, refers to this as “redlining” and will “submit a formal rescission request to Congress” in an attempt to pass the bill, and still get what he wants from it.

Now, will this actually work? I am not a lawyer by any stretch of the imagination, so I have no idea if the president invoking this rescission clause will be successful in actually reducing the amount of spending involved. The line-item veto that Bill Clinton once got to use in the late 90’s was struck down in the Supreme Court in 1998, so it was a very short-lived experiment with giving the Executive Branch the power to simply cut what they saw fit. Will “redlining” end up meeting the same fate? We shall see.

Even with as much sausage stuffing in the COVID bill and the omnibus spending bill, President Trump had little choice but to sign it. Why? Georgia. This is not something that Kelly Loeffler or David Perdue need hanging over their heads for the next week. With the threat of a government shutdown now over, and unemployment relief and renewed PPP help for small businesses, the pressure valve is now off Congress to act.

However, public opinion seems to be on the side of President Trump in this case. Does that means that the Democrats will willingly vote for a stimulus check increase – especially if that means letting some of their precious pork fall by the wayside in order to do so? The Democrats do appear to want to at least consider the higher payments – mostly because that falls in line with their “Big Government Is Taking Care Of You” dreams – and the House will be voting on the $2000 direct payments in a standalone bill today. (They will also be voting to overturn the president’s veto on the defense bill.) The Senate has also indicated that a majority will support a direct payment increase.

Which begs the question – WHY couldn’t we have a clean COVID relief bill in the FIRST PLACE??? Apparently, when giving more direct relief away is A Thing, everyone wants to line up to put their name on that check – which is really giving the American people their own money back, because government never creates wealth, it only takes it. And if anything involves spending MORE money, there is always a politician in Washington willing to do so.

So, while we may see increased direct payment checks, we may not see any reduction in the spending involved, depending on how Congress and the courts see the Impoundment Control Act and the rescission request. There may also be an attempt to run out the clock on President Trump. No matter what happens, one thing is clear – generations of Americans are going to be paying our bills for decades to come, because, again, government has no money. It has YOUR money.

Featured image: President Donald Trump via White House Flickr (official White House photo by by Shealah Craighead), public domain

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1 Comment
  • Gregory Brou says:

    An important part of POTUS request to reform sect 230 liability for internet providers that active;y censor content needs a lot more visibility. I do not believe censorship can be permitted whilst the NSA has unlimited ability to examine every discreet election communication. Democracy cannot exist. I am fortunate that my congressional representative voted on Trump’s side of the equation.

    Censorship is a far larger problem than gun control or abortion. A Jan 6 demonstration in DC will not address censorship. It will get fixed when a 180,000,000 petition their representatives fed and state to fix tweeter, facebook, and google

    Censorship needs a sponsor to defeat, there are none. Perhaps the NRA could expand their vision to include as a democracy critical function.

    victory girls could also do a series on censorship

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