Republicans and Democrats agree: We shouldn’t cut foreign aid.
Aid and Development

Republicans and Democrats agree: We shouldn’t cut foreign aid.

The President's Budget

The foreign aid budget would be cut by nearly 1/3

The proposed cuts would have a devastating impact. Tell your members of Congress that they need to stand up against these proposals and protect the international affairs budget.

This post is from March 1. For an updated reaction to President Trump’s budget request, click here.

Earlier this week, the White House revealed that its first budget proposal would call for a $54 billion increase in defense spending offset by cuts to foreign aid and other programs—even though foreign aid is currently less than 1% of all U.S. spending. We’ve already shared eight quotes from U.S. military officials explaining how misguided that proposal is. Now hear from members of Congress who also have some thoughts on the matter:

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee:

“I’m very much opposed. So many of those programs are very important. They’re a popular target, but they’re very important.” []

Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.):

“[It is] very foolish from a security standpoint to cut diplomacy and foreign aid. I can’t imagine that Secretary Mattis was recommending that they reduce that, and that’s one of the things we would need to get into. Why would the White House not follow the advice of a guy who really knows what he’s talking about?” []

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.):

“Foreign aid is not charity. We must make sure it is well spent, but it is less than 1% of budget & critical to our national security.” []

Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.):

“Foreign aid must remain an American national security priority. We need these tools in our toolkit!” []

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations:

“It’s dead on arrival, it’s not going to happen, it would be a disaster. This budget destroys soft power, it puts our diplomats at risk and it’s going nowhere. When I hear if we cut foreign aid we can balance the budget, it’s just a complete lie. Foreign assistance is an insurance policy. Investing over there, even though we have needs here, makes us safer. When the Trump administration has a budget that basically destroys soft power, it’s unnerving to me, because clearly they don’t understand how soft power is essential to winning the war. It’s a budget proposal that will probably meet the same fate as Obama’s proposals.” []

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina addresses the National Guard Association of the United States 138th General Conference, Baltimore, Md., Sept. 11, 2016. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill)

Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.):

“Undercutting diplomacy & foreign aid makes our military’s job harder. Trump’s ‘security budget’ completely misses the point.” []

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.):

“People seem to think foreign aid is charity. It’s not. It’s given largely in the interest of the United States.” []

Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee:

“The State Department and USAID are critical national security agencies that keep the American people and our allies around the world safe and secure. So it sounds like the president is proposing cutting our national security budget in ways that would have serious and detrimental effects on our national security posture.” []

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations:

“If we do development right, then there will be less need to buy bullets. If the proposal is to take the defense spending out of nondefense, you’ll end up with another [short-term bill] for fiscal 2018. We can make some changes there and make some reductions where necessary, but I don’t think we’d be smart to try to increase defense spending on that backs of all these nondefense programs.” []

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.):

“Republicans and Democrats agree: cutting America’s foreign aid cuts America’s national security” []

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee:

“I think foreign aid is pretty important myself, so I’d like to see what the president has to say. There are some pretty important programs that keep America open for business and that are vital to our national security.” []

Senator Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee:

“Foreign assistance, just 1% of the federal budget and always bipartisan, advances U.S. interests and values. Slashing foreign assistance would be foolhardy, weakening our leadership and emboldening our adversaries.” [ and]

Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.):

“Soft power helps us achieve diplomatic goals of promoting democracy & high standards worldwide.” []

Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee:

“It is shortsighted to slash foreign aid and diplomacy.  Americans know it is a lot more cost-effective to clean your gutters than it is to ignore the problem until you have water coming in through the roof. President Trump’s lack of foresight could cost Americans dearly.” []

Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee:

“I am very concerned by reports of deep cuts that could damage efforts to combat terrorism, save lives, and create opportunities for American workers.  The committee will thoroughly review the administration’s foreign affairs budget request when it’s made available to Congress.” []

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine):

“If you talk to our top military officials, they’ll always tell you that the State Department programs are a form of soft power and are really important as well” []

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.):

Do you think the Senate could approve a budget that slashes State Department funding by about a third?

“Probably not.”

“I for one, just speaking for myself, think the diplomatic portion of the federal budget is very important, and you get results a lot cheaper frequently than you do on the defense side. So, speaking for myself, I’m not in favor of reducing what we call the 150 account to that extent.” []

Want to help? Tell your member of Congress to protect the foreign assistance budget!

The foreign aid budget would be cut by nearly 1/3

The proposed cuts would have a devastating impact. Tell your members of Congress that they need to stand up against these proposals and protect the international affairs budget.

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