WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 (DPA / EP) –
The White House has abandoned Thursday its plans to reduce the budget of the State Department for foreign aid by billions of dollars, thus giving in to bipartisan pressure, according to official sources.
Congress approved a proposal to freeze up to 4 billion dollars in aid, which was now on the table of the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney. The freezing of funds would have affected numerous projects around the world in terms of development, peace missions, health and education, as well as Human Rights initiatives.
The Donald Trump Administration had argued that the cuts would help reduce the deficit, although foreign aid accounts for a small percentage of the federal budget. However, the measure was in line with the motto 'America first' of the president.
But his detractors argued that this turn could affect the position of the United States abroad and reduce their ability to influence diplomatically in other countries.
The proposed cut “undermines our national security interests and encourages our adversaries,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Republican Rep. Hal Rogers had written to Trump last week.
The mechanism under consideration is called termination, as it terminates money already approved by Congress. The Administration planned to present it before Congress had time to act before the end of the fiscal year in September. The funds would then return to the Treasury.
However, this Thursday, Trump backed down and ordered the plan to leave. His change of opinion has been praised by members of Congress and activists who support a greater involvement of the United States abroad.
“There is a bipartisan consensus in Congress on the crucial role foreign aid plays in ensuring our national security and global leadership,” said Democratic representative for California Ami Bera, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. of Representatives “Trimming these funds would have been short-sighted,” he added.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has acknowledged that there was a change at the last minute. “What I have said about each penny spent by the State Department, including our foreign assistance budget, is that we have to do it right,” he told reporters in Ottawa, where he met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
“I want to make sure that each and every one of the dollars we receive from taxpayers are properly employed,” Pompeo added. “And this discussion we are having about the termination is certainly part of that broader discussion,” he added.