The Trump administration is looking to make major cuts to some foreign aid, such as programs promoting crop diversity in Bangladesh, in the hopes of reining in government spending.
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is working with the State Department to identify areas where they can slash foreign spending, primarily on programs they view as wasteful, a senior administration official told the Daily Caller.
Politico reported on Thursday that the requested cuts sent to Congress in the rescissions package could be as high as $4.3 billion, including $2.3 billion from USAID and $2 billion from the State Department.
“They’d be sabotaging these missions and ensuring untold suffering for millions of innocent civilians who rely on the missions for protection,” Jordie Hannum, executive director of the Better World Campaign, told Politico. “If we cut funds for U.N. Peacekeeping missions around the world, our country will be less safe. This is a direct threat to U.S. national security.”
However, the administration official described the cuts as much more targeted at specific programs.
“The President himself has stated that we should only be sending foreign aid to those who respect us and are our friends. The United States should not be financially responsible for crop diversity in Bangladesh, purchasing solar panels in Central Asia and footing the bill for border protection in Central and South Asia—when we can’t even get Congress to secure our own borders,” the official told the Caller. “This administration is committed to cutting wasteful spending, which is why this rescissions package is so important and timely.”
Programs that would likely be affected by the cuts include crop diversity in Bangladesh, diversion programs for felons in Guatemala, funding for solar panels in Central Asia, investments in Guatemalan agricultural technology, and strengthening and controlling other countries’ borders in the Pacific and East, South, and Central Asia. (RELATED: Trump Can Cut All The Foreign Aid He Wants — Billions Will Still Flow From US To Central American Countries)
Budget-minded think tanks have long warned about wasteful spending abroad and have identified areas where cutting programs could save American taxpayers money without threatening national security or human rights. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also published a study in 2016 that found large amounts of foreign aid has negative affects on a country’s public investment.
The final package is expected to be unveiled next week, the official said. The cuts would still have to be approved by Congress.