White House Proposal To Cut State Department, USAID Budgets Faces Opposition From Lawmakers, Aid Organizations

Bloomberg Politics: State Department Faces Trump Funding Cut as Senators Resist
“President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed cutting funding to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development by more than a third in a move that drew immediate pushback from senators on both sides of the aisle…” (Wadhams/Wasson, 2/28).

Devex: Trump criticizes U.S. foreign spending, but proposed cuts to aid draw fierce opposition
“…As reports emerged that Trump’s budget proposed 37 percent cuts to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development — in part to offset significant increases to defense spending — many congressional leaders came out against the proposal. Republican Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, gave a nearly 20 minute speech on the floor of the Senate detailing his support for foreign aid and its importance both to the U.S. economy and to national security. … He was joined by other senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, who told reporters that the Senate would ‘probably not’ pass the proposed budget…” (Saldinger, 3/1).

Devex: USAID ‘working with’ White House to review budget priorities
“The U.S. Agency for International Development says it is working with the White House on reviewing budget priorities as President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal looks likely to include steep cuts to foreign aid. ‘We are working with the White House and OMB to review its budget priorities,’ a USAID spokesman told Devex in an email. ‘We remain committed to a U.S. foreign policy that advances the security and prosperity of the American people’…” (Saldinger, 2/28).

POLITICO: Source: Trump wants 37 percent budget cut to State, USAID
“…The proposal would likely require dramatic restructuring and staffing cuts at the two institutions most responsible for U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid, and it immediately faced bipartisan resistance in Congress. … Trump administration officials have indicated much of the cuts to State and USAID would target foreign aid programs. White House spokespeople did not have an immediate comment…” (Toosi/Everett, 2/28).

PRI: Eliminating the State Department entirely still wouldn’t cover Trump’s proposed hike in military spending
“…According to one former top State Department official, Trump’s math is all wrong. ‘If the president is looking for a $54 billion boost in defense spending, even if he wiped out the entire State Department, he wouldn’t find it,’ says Ambassador Wendy Sherman, a former undersecretary of state for political affairs who was the lead negotiator for the U.S. on the Iran nuclear deal. … Presently, foreign assistance makes up less than one percent of the total U.S. budget. Sherman says it’s a critical investment…” (2/28).

Wall Street Journal: Trump Proposes Cutting State Department Budget by 37%
“…Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) said he didn’t believe that a 37 percent cut would make it through Congress. ‘The diplomatic portion of the federal budget is very important and you get results a lot cheaper frequently,’ than through military spending, he said. … The proposed cuts also drew swift condemnation from aid and advocacy organizations. ‘A budget that slashes State Department and USAID funding, while further expanding the Pentagon, shows Trump is intent on undermining U.S. government agencies that address pressing human-rights issues, most of which aren’t dealt with by military force,’ said Sarah Margon, Washington director at Human Rights Watch…” (Schwartz/Peterson, 2/28).

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