On February 12th, the Trump Administration released the President’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request recycling much of last year’s drastic and disproportionate cuts to the State Department and USAID. The proposed cuts of 30% threaten U.S. national security, weaken our global standing, and reverse bipartisan progress that has reformed our development policies and modernized our institutions.
MFAN will continue to work with Congress to oppose these cuts and refine policy opportunities in the request. See below for a roundup of reactions from the MFAN network and Capitol Hill.
“The International Affairs budget must effectively address growing needs and humanitarian crises. If we’re facing draconian 30 to 40 percent cuts year after year, it’s going to be very difficult to advance an agenda of innovation and aid effectiveness.”
“U.S. foreign assistance has proven its value time and time again. Sufficient funding for effective development programs, clear and appropriate authority to USAID to carry out its development mission, and proper staffing at our aid agencies are critical ingredients to well-functioning foreign assistance.”
“A new Development Finance Institution would harness cutting-edge tools for partnering more effectively with the private sector. However, it’s critical to have a strong foreign assistance budget to maximize its benefits.”
NGO community statement (from CARE, Oxfam, Mercy Corps, IRC, ONE, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, Save the Children, Path, InterAction, and Bread for the World):
“We are deeply concerned with the Administration’s FY 2019 International Affairs budget request, which for the second year in a row proposes to slash funding for effective, lifesaving accounts that help create a safer and more secure world. At a time when global crises continue to grow, this irresponsible budget proposal shows a lack of understanding of the significant value of U.S. leadership.”
“These cuts would be catastrophic for millions of families in developing countries and could not come at a worse time. This budget does not respond to the needs and realities we see on the ground – especially for the most vulnerable children – and threatens America’s ability to support countries on the path to self-reliance and prosperity. The international affairs budget must keep pace with the growing need for American leadership and assistance.”
“This is not a serious proposal and Congress should do as it did last year: ignore it.”
“With our own National Security Strategy recognizing that America faces an ‘extraordinarily dangerous world… with… threats that have intensified in recent years,’ it’s incomprehensible that once again we would consider slashing one-third of our civilian footprint around the world.”
“United States government investments in the international affairs budget have had an instrumental impact creating healthier, safer and more stable societies around the world. The international nonprofit community works closely with the U.S. government and local partners to successfully address development and humanitarian needs and funding for the international affair budget must be protected.
“The State Department and USAID budget request for FY19 is a repeat of the simplistic, formulistic approach that was widely repudiated by Congress and the diplomatic and development community in FY18. Once again there is no fiscal, strategic, or pragmatic justification for these arbitrary cuts. They were made without any credible analysis of their impact or whether they are in our national interest. It is divorced from America’s real-world security interests, and it would continue the Trump Administration’s full-on retreat from American global leadership.”
“Unfortunately, this budget request reflects exactly what we have come to expect from the Trump Administration: an abrogation of American leadership on the world stage. Slashing close to 30 percent of our diplomacy and development budget is woefully ignorant of the U.S.’ role in the world, and cutting 40 percent of our democracy efforts underestimates critical challenges for democratic governance across the world. Congress, on a bipartisan basis, roundly and rightly criticized the Trump Administration’s budget last year. Yet, this Administration sent a near-duplicate of last year’s diplomacy and democracy-slashing budget to Congress.”
“A strong, bipartisan coalition in Congress has already acted once to stop deep cuts to the State Department and Agency for International Development that would have undermined our national security. This year, we will act again.”
“Retired generals and diplomats, Fortune 500 CEOs, and faith leaders came together last year to make clear the devastating impact that the Trump cuts would have on our global leadership. Just this morning, 151 retired three and four-star Generals and Admirals came out in strong opposition to slashing the international affairs budget. The bottom line is that these cuts would make us less safe. They are a gift to countries like Russia and China who are already filling the void left by America’s diminishing role in the world.”
“I firmly believe that strong investments in diplomatic and development programs are an irreplaceable component of our national security. In fact, our most senior military commanders have told us this “soft power” helps prevent the need for military intervention and facilitates operational success when military action is necessary. That is why I am once again disappointed by the severe cuts proposed in the President’s fiscal year 2019 budget for the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.”
“The president has the power to propose a budget, but Congress has the power to dispose of that request—and this request, just like his last one, is dead on arrival.”