Trump Wants to Cut $15 Billion From $1.3 Trillion Budget, Largely From Children's Health Insurance Program

President Donald Trump has long promised to walk back some of Congress's $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill and, on Monday afternoon, he announced that he would ask Congress to slash about $15 billion in spending through a formal rescission request.

The request is far less than the $60 billion Trump originally wanted to rescind from the bill, and if completely enacted would amount to a cut of about 1.15 percent overall. But nearly half of the cuts would come from parts of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which the White House says expired last year and can't be legally used. Another $800 million would come from cuts to an Affordable Care Act program designed to test alternative payment and delivery methods, according to The Washington Post.

CHIP is a program that provides low-cost health care for about 9 million children in families that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid. The program is funded both by states and the federal government, but it is administered on the state level. Trump previously created confusion about CHIP during budget negotiations in January, but Congress ultimately agreed to renew the $15.6 billion program.

About $5 billion of the cuts would come directly from the Children's Health Insurance Fund which reimburses states for health care costs, and an additional $2 billion would come from the Child Enrollment Contingency Fund, which provides backup funds to states in case of a surge in enrollment.

The announcements about cuts to CHIP were made the same day First Lady Melania Trump announced a new campaign to keep children "healthy and balanced."

The White House stressed that the majority of these cuts would come from expired or "untapped accounts," and that they wouldn't hurt the fundamental structure of the bipartisan spending bill. But critics argue that the cuts are a "rounding error " that are more of a "publicity stunt" than anything.

Trump is legally required to spend the money that Congress budgets, but he is allowed to delay spending while asking Congress to make permanent cuts. Once the president presents an official request, which he is expected to do Tuesday, Congress has 45 days to make a final decision, and can vote for it with a simple majority in Senate instead of the typical 60-vote supermajority needed to pass most bills.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, has shown little interest in bringing a rescission bill to a vote, and has said that going back on an arduously negotiated, bipartisan bill is an act of bad faith. It's also unlikely that a bill to further cut spending would pass in a lame-duck Congress with midterm elections coming up in just a few months.

President Trump, who helped pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut, supports a large-scale infrastructure program, and an extra $33 billion in border funding including $18 billion for a wall, has been criticized for his excessive spending during boom times. "I ran for office because I was critical of President Obama's trillion-dollar deficits," Republican Senator Rand Paul said. "Now we have Republicans hand-in-hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits."

This would be the first use of executive rescission authority since 2000.