Trump’s New Budget Reduces Chinese Influence, Slashes Foreign Aid
The overall reduction to foreign assistance will be 21 percent
A new $4.8 trillion budget proposal has been released by President Donald Trump, calling for drastic reductions to foreign aid, in line with previous years.
According to the budget proposal, the overall reduction to foreign assistance is 21 percent, which includes United Nations programs.
The proposals are set to save nearly $170 million from eliminating various international aid programs.
The budget also requests $40.8 billion for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The elimination of spending for international development organizations such as the U.S.-based nonprofit The Asia Foundation will also add to the savings.
Among other reductions in the proposal include embassy-based small grants for events and programs, which include sending American artists to a poetry festival in Finland or supporting a foreign student to attend Space Camp.
But according to critics, the reduction in the international affairs budget raises the risk for critical military operations.
Acting Director of Office of Management and Budget, Russ Vought, said:
“The president disagrees with the idea that we should continue to have such robust levels of funding in the foreign aid category."
He added that spending about $40 billion in foreign aid was considerably higher compared to other countries.
“What we believe that, at the end of the day, it’s time to rethink how we do foreign aid in this country, that we need to move beyond the reality of spending money for a Bob Dylan statue in Mozambique, for the NASA Space Camp in Pakistan, for the professional Cricket League in Afghanistan.”
The president also proposed fundamental restructuring to humanitarian assistance programs.
THE PURGE: Trump Has Removed 70 Obama Holdovers at NSC— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) February 10, 2020
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Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), responded to Trump's proposal in a statement:
“He has broken his promises to the American people. Defaulted on the bipartisan budget deal he made with Congress,” he stated on Feb. 10.
The administration said spending for international programs would focus on “great power competition” and national security.
The proposal expands the budget for the International Development Finance Corp. (DFC), which counters China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative.
“We have to be there as an alternative because I could see China take down a whole bunch of emerging countries,” Adam Boehler, chief executive of DFC, told Financial Times last year.
In 2019, congress doubled the DFC’s funding to $60 billion and allowed the new agency to make equity investments.
Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget proposal calls for increased spending for the military, infrastructure, Veterans Affairs, NASA, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Nuclear Security Administration.
The blueprint, titled “A Budget for America’s Future,” proposes $4.4 trillion in cuts to discretionary and mandatory spending over ten years.
Congress has “certainly ignored this president’s saving proposals for the first three years. That may very well continue this year,” Vought said.
“We’re going to keep proposing these types of budgets and hope that at some point, Congress will have some sense of fiscal sanity.”