Trump plan to slash spending on diplomacy, aid raises hackles in Congress




  • In US
  • 2018-02-13 00:31:07Z
  • By By Patricia Zengerle

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's proposed slashing of funds for diplomacy and foreign aid faced immediate resistance in Congress on Monday, as some of his fellow Republicans joined Democrats in opposing cuts to what they see as essential "soft power" spending in the face of global threats.

Representative Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said he expected members of his party and Democrats would work together to fight the cuts.

The administration wants $37.8 billion for the State Department and Agency for International Development, a reduction of about one-third from 2017 spending.

"A strong, bipartisan coalition in Congress has already acted once to stop deep cuts to the State Department and Agency for International Development that would have undermined our national security. This year, we will act again," Royce said in a statement.

Trump also proposed billions of dollars in cuts last year, prompting strong objections from congressional Democrats and many Republicans, who argued that so-called soft power spending on foreign relations and development was an important component of national security.

Congress largely rejected the proposed cuts when it passed an omnibus spending bill for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2017. A spending agreement for the next two years hammered out by lawmakers last week includes money to increase, not cut, diplomacy and development funds.

The White House argues that the funding cuts are needed to help rein in the budget deficit while beefing up military spending.

Under U.S. law, Congress controls the government's purse strings, and lawmakers rarely enact presidential budgets. While members from both parties generally back high military spending, supporters of foreign aid spending argue that international crises cannot be solved only with force.

Trump's spending plan on Monday included $716 billion in military spending, the largest military budget since 2011, and a $74 billion increase over last year.

"As I've said, diplomacy helps keep America strong and our troops out of combat," Royce said. "Our country faces urgent threats from North Korea, Iran and terrorists around the world."

Senator Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which oversees spending, called Trump's proposed cuts in foreign aid and the State Department "simplistic" and "arbitrary."

"In the name of 'efficiency' this budget slashes funding for the very operations and programs that support U.S. global leadership and influence on which the security of the American people depends," Leahy said in a statement.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Grant McCool and Peter Cooney)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Trump says arm US teachers; they love kids as others don
Trump says arm US teachers; they love kids as others don't

President Donald Trump told conservatives Friday that even Second Amendment supporters can get behind steps to fight gun violence in schools, offering a red-meat call for arming teachers and suggesting ...

Trump comments points to deep divisions over arming teachers
Trump comments points to deep divisions over arming teachers

Utah teacher Kasey Hansen says carrying a concealed weapon in school is "more of a solution" than hiding in a corner and waiting if an armed intruder enters the classroom. But Texas teacher Tara ...

Trump threatens to pull law enforcement from California
Trump threatens to pull law enforcement from California

US President Donald Trump threatened to pull immigration and other federal law enforcement agents from California on Thursday, a warning shot to the country's richest and most populous state. Complaining that California was not complying with his hardline position on migrants, Trump warned he could cut vital help from Washington and prompt a crime wave. "We are getting no help from the state of California," Trump continued, claiming the state was protecting members of the violent MS13 gang.

NRA head breaks silence to attack gun control advocates: 'They hate individual freedom'
NRA head breaks silence to attack gun control advocates: 'They hate individual freedom'

The head of the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) has broken his silence more than a week after the Florida school shooting with a vituperative attack on gun control advocates, accusing them of exploiting the tragedy to push their agenda. Wayne LaPierre, whose lobby group faces an unprecedented challenge from the activism of students, including survivors of the massacre, sought to paint his opponents as "elites" and "socialists" hellbent on undermining Americans' constitutional rights.

Shooting town hall: Rubio on the defensive on gun control
Shooting town hall: Rubio on the defensive on gun control

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio was put on the defensive Wednesday by angry students, teachers and parents who are demanding stronger gun-control measures after the shooting rampage that claimed 17 lives at ...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.