White House

White House Scraps Planned Foreign-Aid Cuts: REPORT

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, D.C., March 15, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

The White House decided Thursday not to move forward with a broadly unpopular proposal to cut billions of dollars in foreign aid, according to multiple reports.

The Office of Management and Budget had planned a package of $4.3 billion in cuts to foreign aid, but the White House backed off the plan amid concerns that it would jeopardize the sweeping, bipartisan budget deal Congress passed earlier this month.

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Republican members of Congress had reportedly warned Trump that the move would threaten national security and not be popular with either party. On the other side, arguing in favor of the plan, were acting budget director Russ Vought and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

“We’re talking to Republicans and Democrats about it and certain things we could save,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “Certain things, it could probably be a pennywise,” he added, implying the cuts could be smaller than first thought.

Both Democrats and Republicans objected to the proposal, albeit for different reasons.

“We strongly urge the Administration to refrain from sending a rescission message to the Congress,” Representative John Yarmuth and Senator Bernie Sanders, influential members of their respective chambers’ budget committees, wrote in a letter Monday to Mulvaney. The two Democrats expressed concern that the funds for foreign-aid programs could be frozen until the end of the fiscal year unless Congress explicitly rejected the cuts.

The top Republicans on the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees that handle foreign aid, Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Hal Rogers, vehemently rejected the plan as well.

“At a time when threats from Iran are increasing, ISIS has not been vanquished, the Administration is putting significant pressure on the regime in Venezuela, and aiming to curtail the North Korea nuclear program, the rescission package is particularly concerning,” Graham and Rogers wrote in a letter to the president. They added that pulling the funding “undermines our national security interests and emboldens our adversaries.”

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Yes, They Are Coming for Your Guns

At the Democratic-primary debate in Houston last night, Beto O’Rourke formally killed off one of the gun-control movement’s favorite taunts: The famous “Nobody is coming for your guns, wingnut.” Asked bluntly whether he was proposing confiscation, O’Rourke abandoned the disingenuous euphemisms that have ... Read More
White House

Politico Doubles Down on Fake Turnberry Scandal

It's tough to be an investigative reporter. Everybody who feeds you a tip has an axe to grind. Or, alternatively, you find yourself going, "I wonder if . . . ?" You put in your research, you talk to lots of people, you accumulate a huge pile of information, but you still haven't proved your hypothesis. A wise ... Read More

Four Cheers for Incandescent Light Bulbs

It brought me much -- indeed, too much -- joy to hear of the Trump administration's rollback of restrictions on incandescent light bulbs, even if the ban will remain in place. The LED bulbs are terrible. They give off a pitiable, dim, and altogether underwhelming "glow," one that never matched the raw (if ... Read More