By: Zack Duvall
On Saturday Mick Mulvaney, the White House’s Budget Director, confirmed that the Trump administration plans on proposing what he called “fairly dramatic reductions” to the U.S. foreign aid budget later this month.
Reuters news agency first reported on this last month when they featured an article that said the White House was looking into deep cuts to the budgets of the U.S. State Department and Agency for International Development by roughly one-third of current funding.
“We are going to propose to reduce foreign aid and we are going to propose to spend that money here. ” Mulvaney, the former South Carolina representative, said during an interview with the Fox News Channel.
Mulvaney and other White House budget officials say that the cuts would help to fund the administration’s proposed $54 billion increase in federal defense spending.
“The overriding message is fairly straightforward, less money spent overseas meas more money spent here” Mulvaney said.
But the move by the administration has come under bi-partisan criticism with even Republican congressional leaders and members speaking out against the planned budget cuts.
“I am very concerned by reports of deep cuts that could damage efforts to combat terrorism, save lives, and create opportunity for American workers.” U.S Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), who is also Chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said of the recent statements by the White House Budget Office.
Backlash towards the White House over the recent proposals to cut the U.S. foreign aid budget continued with Florida Senator Marco Rubio taking to Twitter to voice his opposition to the planned move by the administration.
“Foreign aid is not charity. We must make sure it is well spent, but it is less than 1% of the budget and critical to our national security.” Rubio said in his post.
Th United States is currently spending $50 billion annually on aid programs both within and separate from the State Department. With roughly $36.5 billion being dispersed to 20 federal agencies who will award the money to more than 100 countries around the world according to the State Department’s website.
The Trump administration is set to release their official proposal on March 16, with Reuters reporting that many experts are also expecting to see major cuts to domestic programs as well.