By a slim 50-48 margin (with two members not voting), the U.S. Senate blocked a proposal by the Trump Administration to cut $15.4 billion out of the $1.3 trillion federal spending bill Congress passed in February. The administration request called for about half – $7 billion – of the requested cut from funds earmarked for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.
The president’s proposal used a rare policy tool called “rescission”, which calls for funds earmarked for a purpose to not be spent by the government. Presidents rarely submit rescission proposals – the last one to do so was Bill Clinton.
Of the $7 billion in cuts to CHIP appropriations, approximately $2 billion had been set aside for the Child Enrollment Contingency Fund, which protects children in cases when their state of residence runs out of money for CHIP coverage.
The vote in the Senate fell mostly along party lines, with Republicans mostly in support and Democrats opposed. There were, however, two Republican defections: Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Richard Burr of North Carolina.