Contributed by Austin R. Cooper, Jr., Director of Government Affairs, IGD.
The President has proposed a $4.7 trillion budget that stands in sharp contrast to many Members of the 116th Congress in general, and in particular to Democrats trying to unseat him in November 2020. Indeed, it is the first act in a multi-front struggle over the role of the U.S. Government that without a doubt, will consume both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue over the next eighteen months.
The plan would dramatically expand spending on programs and initiatives popular with Republicans, such as $750 billion in new defense spending and $8.6 billions for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. On the other hand, it would substantially reduce spending on domestic programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, environmental protections and others that are traditionally favored by Democrats.
The Trump Administration has also proposed slashing the budget for the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) by approximately 24 percent, with particularly steep cuts to humanitarian aid, refugee assistance and global health programs. Despite the cuts, according to USAID Administrator Mark Green, “The U.S. will continue its role as the world leader in humanitarian service, but we’ll also call on others to do their part, and we’ll work relentlessly to assure that assistance is delivered as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
Reacting to the release of the President’s budget priorities for the next fiscal year, the President & CEO of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, Liz Schrayer, stated “While the Administration is right to prioritize development finance and women’s economic empowerment, we can’t risk cutting a quarter of America’s civilian footprint in the world if we hope to protect our security and economic interests.”
According to Leila Ndiaye, President of the IGD, “I am very concerned with the cuts that have been submitted to Capitol Hill by the White House. I am especially concerned with how these cuts as proposed will impact economic development across the African continent.
On March 9th, Rep. Karen Bass, Chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, convened a meeting on Capitol Hill with the Members of the African Diplomatic Corps to discuss the challenges confronting Africa. According to Melvin Foote, President of the Constituency for Africa (CFA), the topics of discussion included “African immigration, the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), Diaspora engagement and changing the image of Africa in the United States.”
Finally, the Initiative for Global Development expresses its sincere prayers and condolences to all of the crew and families of the 157 people who perished on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa.
May their souls rest in peace.