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Proposed cuts to State and AID would be “shortsighted and devastating”

President Trump’s proposed cuts to State and USAID would make the United States less safe

WASHINGTON — The White House Office of Management and Budget released the toplines of President Trump’s budget request for 2018 today, proposing a cut of more than one-third to the budgets of the State Department and USAID.

In reaction, Tom Hart, ONE’s executive director for North America, said:

“Cutting the budgets of State and USAID by a third would be shortsighted and devastating to programs that are saving lives, building capacity, protecting Americans, and advancing America’s interests around the world.

“It’s tough to fairly judge a document so light on key details, but frankly, these numbers don’t add up. The cuts to foreign assistance proposed in this document don’t come close to the overall cut being touted, and instead create a number of questions about what more severe cuts are being planned.

“Regardless, our foreign assistance programs are among the few places in the government where funding translates to lives saved. Cutting our emergency food aid programs while four countries face famines and 1.4 million children are ‘at imminent risk’ of dying from hunger is particularly astonishing. This isn’t about eliminating ineffective programs, this is about the medicines and food that people living in extreme poverty need to survive.

“These cuts are also inconsistent with a ‘national security budget,’ as the White House describes it. Military leaders recognize and advocate the importance of development as a critical tool in our national security arsenal and a key to preventing conflict. This budget would actually make the United States less safe and put a heavier burden on our men and women in uniform. While these cuts appear to be cost-saving moves in the short term, they would actually be more expensive for the United States over the long term. If more countries and more people face the kind of poverty that fuels instability, our leadership and influence will be reduced, and we will fail to project the American values that are our greatest defense against extremism.

“This proposal has already been criticized by dozens of retired general and flag officers, and an array of leaders on Capitol Hill — Republicans and Democrats, representatives and senators, appropriators and authorizers. Senator Graham called it ‘dead on arrival’ because it would make the United States less safe. Even Leader McConnell said he didn’t think the President’s proposal could pass the Senate.

“Members of the ONE Campaign have had almost 400 meetings with members of Congress and their staffs over the last three weeks, urging their opposition to this proposal and their protection of the International Affairs budget. Our 2.5 million American members are going to be vocal throughout the FY18 budget and appropriations cycle to make sure that Congress protects the 150 account.”