Trump administration announces dramatic changes to foreign aid budget

On Saturday, White House Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney announced that Trump plans to propose “dramatic reductions” in the U.S. foreign aid budget, according to Reuters.

Earlier this week the news outlet reported that Trump plans to propose to Congress a nearly one-third budget cut to the U.S. State Department and Agency for International Development.

Mulvaney told Fox News: “We are going to propose to reduce foreign aid and we are going to propose to spend that money here,” adding that the budget cuts would include “fairly dramatic reductions in foreign aid.”

Additionally, he said that Trump has vowed to increase the U.S. military budget by $54 billion, or 10 percent, in the fiscal year 2018.

The “historic” increase in military defense spending is to be offset by cuts to the State Department and U.S. foreign aid. “The overriding message is fairly straightforward: less money spent overseas means more money spent here,” said Mulvaney.

Reuters reports that the U.S. “spends just over $50 billion annually on the State Department and USAID, compared with $600 billion or more each year on the Pentagon.”

In response to the proposed cuts to the State Department, a few Republicans have voiced concerns:

“I am very concerned by reports of deep cuts that could damage efforts to combat terrorism, save lives and create opportunities for American workers,” said U.S. Representative Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, tweeted earlier this week: “Foreign Aid is not charity. We must make sure it is well spent, but it is less than 1% of budget & critical to our national security.”

John Czwartacki, a spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget, said the details of Trump’s budget proposal will be released on Mar. 16.

“The president and his Cabinet are working collaboratively as we speak to create a budget that keeps the president’s promises to secure the country and restore fiscal sanity to how we spend American taxpayers’ money,” said Czwartacki. “That said, the president has made it clear: We are going to spend less on other countries as we reprioritize how American tax dollars are allocated.”

H/T: Reuters, Washington Post

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