The Trump administration is attempting to cut back $4 billion of foreign aid. Trump promised to cut foreign aid during his campaign for president, and it looks like he is now trying to keep that promise. The move by the administration to freeze, and possibly cancel the aid is angering those in Congress who want to keep money flowing to foreign countries. If left unresolved, the dispute could lead to a government shutdown over the budget. The Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Duehren reports:
The administration is expected to submit a package to Capitol Hill in the coming days or weeks that would temporarily stop the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development from spending money on foreign aid programs that Congress has already funded.
While Congress must eventually sign off on such proposals before they are permanent, the administration’s submission would automatically suspend the money for 45 days. Because the end of the federal fiscal year arrives on Sept. 30, the administration’s package could hold the money until after it expires—a maneuver that would effectively cancel the money. Some lawmakers charge that freezing the money until the end of the fiscal year would be illegal.
The move could end the detente on spending between Capitol Hill and the administration that enabled the passage earlier this summer of a deal setting new spending levels and suspending the debt ceiling. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who led negotiations with Mrs. Pelosi on the last spending deal, writing the action “violates the good faith of our budget negotiations.”
Mrs. Pelosi was not alone in her criticism. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), a close ally of President Trump, joined Rep. Hal Rogers (R., Ky.), who formerly led the House Appropriations Committee, to oppose the planned spending freeze. The pair warned that the proposed package “could complicate the ability of the Administration and Congress to work constructively on future appropriations deals.”
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