White House backs off plan to cut foreign aid: source

19:30 | 23.08.2019

The White House will not move forward with plans to cut billions of dollars in foreign aid, a source familiar with the decision told Reuters on Thursday, after an outcry from lawmakers about what they saw as an attempt to sidestep Congress’ authority over government spending, Trend reports.

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he was considering scaling back an effort that could have cut billions of dollars in foreign aid and would decide on the proposal within days.

Members of Congress, including some of Trump’s fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, had contacted administration officials to object to the latest in a series of Trump administration efforts to cut the amount of money Washington provides in foreign assistance.

"The president has been clear that there is waste and abuse in our foreign assistance and we need to be wise about where U.S money is going, which is why he asked his administration to look into options to doing just that,” a senior administration official said. "It’s clear that there are many on the Hill who aren’t willing to join in curbing wasteful spending,” the official added.

Administration officials earlier this month briefly froze State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development spending with an eye to using a budget process known as "rescission” to slash up to $4.3 billion in spending that had already been approved by the Senate and House of Representatives.

Total foreign aid accounts for less than 2 percent of the federal budget, and the assistance being considered for cuts accounts for an even tinier amount.

Opponents of slashing foreign aid argued that funding programs that fight poverty, empower women, support education and promote global health are worthwhile investments that save on security costs in the long run.