White House drops plan to cut Ebola funding

June 05, 2018 - 3:23 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to revive a $15 billion plan to pare back spending that has languished on Capitol Hill, the White House on Tuesday dropped a proposal to cut $252 million in leftover funding to fight the Ebola virus in Africa.

An Ebola outbreak in Congo led the administration to rethink the cuts.

The White House budget office has also dropped a plan to cut $107 million appropriated during the Obama administration to help communities rebuild watersheds and floodplains damaged by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The White House originally unveiled the cuts last month, but they've languished in Congress. Cuts to the popular Children's Health Insurance Program — while unlikely to have an impact on the program — are making some Republican moderates uneasy. The closely divided Senate appears unlikely to act.

The cuts were proposed in the wake of a budget-busting $1.3 trillion government-wide spending bill that was unpopular among many GOP conservatives as too bloated and only reluctantly signed by President Donald Trump. The $7 billion in CHIP cuts, for instance, wouldn't affect the number of enrollees, but the move would take off the table leftover money that could be used to pay for other budget priorities.

House Republican leaders had hoped to have already passed the measure by now, but encountered greater-than-expected resistance from lawmakers. Some questioned the wisdom of casting a difficult-to-explain vote to cut the children's health program when it appears that the entire effort is a nonstarter in the Senate, where top Republicans such as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are trying to get the process for enacting the 12 annual spending bills back on track in a bipartisan way.

Trimming back previously allocated funding used to be common in Washington. But the so-called "rescissions" process hasn't been used since the Clinton administration.

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