The U.S. budget director has confirmed that the Trump administration will propose “fairly dramatic” reductions in U.S. foreign aid when it submits its fiscal 2018 budget later this month.
“We are going to propose to reduce foreign aid, and we are going to propose to spend that money here,” Mick Mulvaney, the White House Office of Management Budget director, told Fox News on March 4.
Mulvaney said the reductions in foreign aid would be “fairly dramatic.”
The cuts in foreign aid would help fund a proposed increase in the U.S. military budget, Mulvaney added. The current annual Pentagon budget is about $603 billion.
President Donald Trump on February 27 said his first budget proposal to Congress included a “historic increase in defense spending to rebuild the depleted military.”
The White House has said Trump will ask Congress to increase defense spending by $54 billion during the next year and cut the same amount from nondefense spending, including a large reduction in foreign aid.
Much of the cuts would come from the $50.1 billion annual budget of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development programs (USAID), White House officials have said.
One official said the State Department’s budget could be cut by as much as 37 percent, which would lead to a major revamp of the department and elimination of several programs.
The Associated Press, citing officials familiar with the matter, reported on March 4 that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has agreed in principle to a reduction in his department’s budget but that he wants it spread over three years rather than in one annual reduction.
Tillerson has suggested the budget cuts for the State Department and USAID start with a 20 percent reduction in the next budget year, the officials familiar with Tillerson’s thinking, said.
Trump’s budget proposals are only the first step in what even in a good year is a protracted negotiation with Congress, which has the ultimate say over the federal budget.