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Citizenship

White House Budget Seeks 30% Cut to Foreign Aid From 2017 Levels

As part of its 2019 budget proposal released today, the White House is calling for a $17.9 billion cut, more than 30%, to foreign aid compared to 2017 spending levels.

The 2018 budget, which is expected to be finalized by Congress by March 23, currently features an $8.8 billion cut to foreign aid and an additional $4 billion cut in 2019, according to Foreign Policy.

The Trump administration’s proposal is deeper and more far-reaching, but both efforts by the White House and Congress represent a shrinking and dismantling of programs that are essential to global development and diplomacy, according to the the US Global Leadership Coalition, and could harm the lives of millions of people who depend on foreign aid for health care, food and water security, education, and more.

The White House issues a budget proposal each year that then goes to Congress, which gets to ultimately decide the budget for the following year.

Take Action: Call on Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Azar to #StoptheCuts and Protect Foreign Aid

The White House’s proposed cuts come by eliminating the Overseas Contingency Operations budget, which stands at $20.8 billion and funds efforts like providing emergency aid to Syrian refugees, rebuilding infrastructure in Afghanistan, and enabling transition efforts in post-conflict states.

This money would be shifted to the international affairs “base budget,” which would allow it to be spent on military programs.

An additional $1.5 billion cut in targeted spending would bring overall foreign aid to $41.7 billion in 2019, a steep drop from the current $59.6 billion level.

Read More: The Little-Known History of US Foreign Aid

Military spending, meanwhile, would rise $716 billion.

Critics of the proposal argue that such significant cuts would undermine US security and economic stability.

US foreign aid is overseen by USAID and the State Department, agencies whose funding has been consistently threatened under the Trump administration.

Current and former members of the military have come out in opposition to the proposed budget, according to Foreign Policy.  

“We saw firsthand how our civilian forces must continue to be part and parcel of a comprehensive national security strategy,” more than 1,200 veterans recently wrote in a letter opposing the cuts. “With the recent military progress against ISIS, we know that strategic investments in the State Department and USAID will be essential if we are to solidify our hard-fought gains and prevent other bad actors from filling the void.”

Read More: The Little-Known History of US Foreign Aid

The White House budget has little chance of passing through Congress since legislators from both parties oppose drastically slashing foreign aid.

But the proposal continues the administration’s attack on foreign aid and could further accelerate the dismantling of essential programs.

Global Citizen campaigns on expanding US foreign and you can call on your legislators to stop the cuts here.