The Trump Administration has proposed $37.6 billion for International Affairs in its Fiscal Year 2018 “skinny budget”. This request reduces funding levels for the State Department and USAID by 31% compared to the FY17 Continuing Resolution.
Members of Congress have responded swiftly to the administration’s plan expressing concern over such a severe proposed reduction in the Function 150 Account.
See below for a roundup of reactions from both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), Co-Chair, Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance: “Strategic investments in development can be an important tool in maintaining American leadership, while creating strong allies and providing economic opportunities for America’s businesses.”
Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Co-Chair, Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance: “The three pillars of diplomacy, development, and defense are absolutely essential to protecting the American people and our interests at home and abroad. These requested cuts to our foreign affairs budget show a profound lack of understanding of our approach to international engagement that has protected America and our allies, and are based on an isolationist worldview.”
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Co-Chair, Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance: “Ultimately, it will be up to Congress to decide how to allocate limited federal dollars among many different agencies and programs, including effective, well-targeted diplomatic and international initiatives that are critical to our national security.”
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Co-Chair, Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance: “I have grave concerns that it will make us less safe overseas”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chairman, Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee: “I appreciate that this budget increases defense spending, yet these increases in defense come at the expense of national security, soft power, and other priorities.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ranking Member, Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee: “We are not a “strong” nation if we simply pour more money into the Pentagon, renege on commitments to international peacekeeping and security alliances, slash funding to respond to humanitarian crises, and cut our diplomatic presence around the world.”
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “I believe we can strike an appropriate balance that recognizes the critical role of diplomacy in keeping our military out of harm’s way and appropriately advancing our nation’s interests while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used in the most efficient and effective manner.”
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “These devastating cuts to our front-line national security departments and agencies come at a time when the United States faces unprecedented challenges on the world stage, from Russian aggression to the humanitarian crises in Syria, Iraq and Yemen to climate change to the wave of potentially catastrophic famine destabilizing sub-Saharan Africa. If enacted this budget would only make the world more dangerous for America and Americans, and make it harder to safeguard our interests, promote our values and further expand our prosperity.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Majority Leader: “America being a force is a lot more than building up the Defense Department. Diplomacy is important, extremely important, and I don’t think these reductions at the State Department are appropriate because many times diplomacy is a lot more effective — and cert cheaper — than military engagement.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “I do not support the proposed 28 percent cut to our international affairs budget and diplomatic efforts led by the State Department. These programs are integral to our national security, and cuts at these levels undermine America’s ability to keep our citizens safe. In order to advance our national security interests, economic opportunity for our people and respect for human dignity everywhere, America’s leadership on the global stage is indispensable.”
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), Chairman, House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee: “The United States has a vital role to play in advancing democracy, protecting the innocent, helping the displaced and vulnerable, and offering diplomatic solutions to crises, unrest, and other challenges abroad. While I am pleased that the President’s budget signals that we need an aggressive plan to fight ISIS, I also believe the approach needs to be comprehensive in scope – including not just military engagement, but also the full and responsible use of all diplomatic tools at our disposal.”
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Member, House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee: “Former President Bush’s comments are as true as ever: ‘Defense diplomacy and development are equal legs of the stool of American foreign policy.’ Yet dramatic reductions in the President’s proposed budget for the Function 150 Account would undermine that delicate balance with damaging impacts from deep and ill-advised cuts.”
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Committee: “We need a strong reform budget that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of foreign assistance. And we can achieve this without undermining vital U.S. economic and national security interests.”
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee: “Development efforts aren’t charity. They’re investments in countries and communities to help them become more stable, healthy, and prosperous. Poverty creates hotbeds for violence, crime, and corruption, and those problems inevitably spill over into neighboring countries. Development assistance, on the other hand, builds stronger partners on the world stage, partners who will share our values and priorities.”
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Leader: “The President’s budget blueprint fails to recognize America’s strength depends on more than military spending; it depends on the power of our diplomacy, the health of our economy and the vitality of our communities.”
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Minority Whip: “We must provide the necessary resources to defend our nation, but we must not shortchange investments in diplomacy and foreign aid – both critical to maintaining our national security. This budget proposal would put America at risk by dramatically cutting our commitment to these crucial national security tools by nearly a third.”