Trump administration ‘reverses plan to take back billions allotted for foreign aid’

Plan reportedly scrapped after senators pushed back

Emily Shugerman
New York
Wednesday 29 August 2018 23:42
Comments
Donald Trump previously attempted to slash billions of dollars in foreign aid from the 2018 budget
Donald Trump previously attempted to slash billions of dollars in foreign aid from the 2018 budget

Donald Trump's administration has reportedly dropped a plan to claw back billions of dollars budgeted for foreign aid, after US legislators fought back.

The administration informed officials at the State Department and Agency for International Development this summer that it planned to cut approximately $3.5bn (£2.7bn) in “unnecessary,” unspent foreign aid as part of a so-called rescissions package, according to Reuters.

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OBM) instructed the agencies to provide a “balance sheet” of unfunded foreign aid projects – monies which they hoped to have returned to the US Treasury by the end of the fiscal year, according to the Washington Post.

But several US senators – and even the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, one of the US president's staunchest allies – launched a campaign against the plan. The politicians claimed it was a backhanded way for the White House to take back funds that had already been approved for the agencies' use.

On Tuesday, the OBM reportedly told senators they would not be going through with the plan after all.

Senator Patrick Leahy, the vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee, applauded the decision in a statement.

“Rescinding funds that had been agreed to by Congress and signed into law by the president, in the waning days of the fiscal year, would have set a terrible precedent and harmed programmes that further United States interests around the world,” he said.

Mr Trump previously attempted to slash billions of dollars in foreign aid from the 2018 fiscal year budget, as part of his “America First” agenda. Congress shot down this plan, passing a budget that kept levels of foreign aid spending similar to the year before.

Earlier this summer, Congress voted down another proposed rescissions package from the White House, which would have clawed back approximately $7bn (£5.4bn) in unspent money from the Children's Health Insurance Programme.

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