A document published by the Senate Steering Committee Tuesday found that there is actually $18 billion more than advertised in spending in the omnibus spending bill House and Senate establishment leaders introduced late Monday.
The Senate Steering Committee, chaired by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and vice-chaired by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), found that the omnibus spending bill uses a gimmick called CHIMPS, or changes in mandatory programs, to hide $18 billion in more spending.
“The bill includes a gimmick known as ‘CHIMPS’ – changes in mandatory programs,” the document from the Steering Committee reads. “CHIMPS reduce mandatory budget authority that is unlikely to be spent, freeing up room for more discretionary spending.”
“The omnibus contains $18 billion in CHIMPS,” the Steering Committee added later in the document. “$9.4 billion of that total is from the Crime Victims Fund, with another $6.3 billion coming from the Children’s Health Insurance Fund.”
The document also quotes from the Honest Budget Act from Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to explain what CHIMPS is as a gimmick.
“Language that delays $10 billion in mandatory spending for one year is scored as saving $10 billion,” Sessions’s Honest Budget Act explanation of this type of gimmick reads, as quoted by the Steering Committee. “Thus the $10 billion savings can be used to increase spending elsewhere in the bill by $10 billion without affecting the overall cost of the bill. Over a ten year period the same $10 billion can be delayed one year at a time, resulting in total ‘savings’ in the appropriations process of $100 billion ($10 billion X 10 years). However, the actual savings over the ten year period is only $10 billion (the same $10 billion simply got deferred each year). The result is $90 billion in phony savings.”
Specifically, House Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Senate Appropriations Committee chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) claimed that their omnibus spending bill would spend $1.012 trillion. That number is clearly not accurate.