It seems like a “common sense” proposal: If funds for a government program are unused, why not rescind the funding and return the money to the U.S. Treasury? Especially if the total amounts to $15 billion!
Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) helped introduce the President’s rescission package in the Senate, which would have rescinded $15 billion in unspent funds, she explained in a recent email to constituents. Unfortunately, the measure failed by a vote of 48 to 50.
“This legislation not only allows the government to take back unused funds, but also prevents Congress from redirecting these dollars to spend more money elsewhere,” Ernst said. “At $15 billion, this is the largest rescission package ever proposed, and the first since the year 2000.”
Ernst explained that the measure would have rescinded more than $4 billion in unused funds from a program that provides loans to car manufacturers for the production of advanced vehicles.
“There have not been any new loans issued under this program since 2011, and the Government Accountability Office has recommended rescinding funding unless the Department of Energy can show there is demand and viable applications for these loans,” Ernst said.
She noted it also would have cut $86 million in unused funding for earmarks and over $100 million in unused Department of Transportation funding, money that was appropriated in the early 2000s.
Ernst’s Squeal Award
Ernst is a whistleblower with her Squeal Award, which “identifies specific areas of government abuse, pork barrel spending and inefficiencies that have proven to be unnecessary and must be cut,” she explains. Her most recent Squeal Award goes to the U.S. Senate for not passing legislation that would have put money back in the U.S. Treasury.
“At a time when we are $21 trillion in debt, this bill would have been a small step in the right direction, cutting unobligated funds that are not necessary to administer programs and services. Unfortunately, some of my colleagues were unwilling to cut even unspent and unnecessary dollars,” Ernst said.