Former President Donald Trump vowed Tuesday to use a now-limited presidential power known as impoundment to slash the deficit and curb inflation.
“For 200 years under our system of government, it was undisputed that the president had the Constitutional power to stop unnecessary spending through what is known as Impoundment,” Trump said in a video release.
Presidents since the Founding Fathers, including President Thomas Jefferson, have used the impoundment power to block congressionally appropriated funds.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an “‘impoundment’ is any action or inaction by an officer or employee of the federal government that precludes obligation or expenditure of budget authority.”
President Richard Nixon tried “aggressively” to impound spending when combatting “one of the most liberal Congresses.” In reaction, Congress enacted the Budget Control Act of 1974, which transferred most spending control to Congress.
Trump promised to revive the historical presidential power to impound spending to rein in inflation:
When I return to the White House, I will do everything I can to challenge the Impoundment Control Act in court, and if necessary, get Congress to overturn it. We will overturn it.
I will then use the president’s long-recognized Impoundment Power to squeeze the bloated federal bureaucracy for massive savings. This will be in the form of tax reductions for you. This will help quickly to stop inflation and slash the deficit.
To prepare for this eventuality, on Day One, I will order every federal agency to begin identifying large chunks of their budgets that can be saved through efficiencies and waste reduction using Impoundment.
Democrats accused Trump of violating the Impoundment Control Act when he froze aid to Ukraine without notifying lawmakers, which played a small role in his first impeachment trial.
Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger wrote in 2011 that 43 governors have this power to impound spending, and presidents have used or have supported impoundment, including Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lydon Baines Johnson, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
The 45th president said that impoundment is the only way to return to a balanced budget:
Just as importantly, bringing back Impoundment will give us a crucial tool with which to obliterate the Deep State, Drain the Swamp, and starve the Warmongers –– these people that want wars all over the place; killing, killing, killing, they love killing — and the Globalists out of government.
We are going to get the Warmongers and the Globalists out of our government.
He added, “This policy is anti-inflation, anti-Swamp, anti-globalist—and it’s pro-growth, pro-taxpayer, pro-American, and pro-freedom.”
Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.