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December 12, 2023

GOP Reps Introduce Bill Targeting ‘Slush Funds’ From Debt Limit Deal

House Republican Reps. Chip Roy of Texas and David Schweikert of Arizona introduced legislation, first shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation, on Tuesday aimed at rescinding “slush funds” from the debt ceiling deal negotiated in late spring.

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden agreed to the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) in late May to avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt in early June, which allowed the federal government to take on unlimited receipts through Jan. 1, 2025, as well as other provisions. Roy and Schweikert’s “Eliminate Congressional Slush Funds Act” would claw back the $22 billion the FRA allocated to the Department of Commerce Nonrecurring Expenses Fund while ensuring it doesn’t enable additional funding beyond spending caps.

“Appropriators have long used sleight of hand to hide the actual level of spending included in massive appropriations bills,” Roy told the DCNF. “Unfortunately, that practice is alive and well. Indeed, negotiations on the [FRA] included a well-known ‘side deal’ that would allow for an additional $54 billion in spending beyond the caps set by the bill, made — in part — possible by giving $22 billion to a fund at the Department of Commerce that will be reallocated during the appropriations process.”

“House Republicans should reject this side deal and ensure we stick to the caps set by the FRA without the use of budget gimmicks. That’s why I am proud to introduce this bill with my friend Representative David Schweikert to rescind the $22 billion and prevent it from being funneled behind the scenes,” Roy added.

The FRA restricted the Department of Commerce’s ability to access the funds, meaning the dollars are only useful during the appropriations process, which Paul Winfree, former director of budget policy during the Trump administration, argues will actually increase spending.

“Every dime that Congress votes on now is on borrowed money. With our government currently borrowing over $80,000 every second, we must make it our moral obligation to solve our nation’s debt crisis before it’s too late,” Schweikert told the DCNF. “While the [FRA’s] passage marked the largest deficit reduction in American history, budget gimmicks allowed for billions in additional spending above the caps. The Eliminate Congressional Slush Funds Act ensures that this body cannot abuse unobligated COVID relief funding which was rightfully clawed back and deposited into Treasury. It’s past time Washington kicks its spending addiction and starts taking our fiscal reality seriously.”

Republican Reps. Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Andy Ogles of Tennessee, Byron Donalds of Florida and Tom Emmer of Minnesota are also cosponsors of the “Eliminate Congressional Slush Funds Act.”

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