By Austin R. Cooper, Jr.
The White House unveiled on February 12, its budget proposal for FY2019, making significant cuts to the International Affairs budget as part of an effort to slash the federal deficit by $3 trillion over the next ten years.
The Trump Administration has proposed eliminating funding for key foreign policy agencies, grant programs and institutes. The proposal raises military spending by 14.1 percent, while reducing funding for the U.S. Department of State by 26.9 percent.
Moreover, the budget proposal calls for drastic cuts in U.S. programs that support international diplomacy and foreign assistance. The White House has proposed allocating $41.7 billion for the International Affairs budget for the next fiscal year. Funding for State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) falls under this particular budget allocation. According to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, of which IGD is a member, if Congress passes the proposed budget proposal, it would represent a 30 percent reduction from the funding levels for FY2017 of $59.6 billion.
The proposed cuts has drawn sharp protests from lawmakers, retired military leaders and development advocates, who argue that it would undermine U.S. security and leadership around the globe.
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who recently announced that he will not seek reelection in November asserted: “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.”
Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych stated that IGD’s Government Affairs team will continue to raise awareness and advocate to the the 115th Congress, in a bipartisan manner, about restoring proposed funding cuts to U.S. trade, economic and diplomacy programs and multilateral organizations.
In submitted testimony to the The United States International Trade Commission Public Hearing on “U.S. Trade and Investment with Sub-Saharan Africa: Recent Developments Hearing” in January, the IGD President emphasized that the U.S. and Africa’s future prosperity is interconnected.
“The U.S. must to engage with the continent now — and engage fast,” said Nedelcovych. “Through revitalized economic programs, the U.S. government can begin to leverage U.S. business experiences and solutions to create more mutually beneficial relationships and opportunities with African countries.”
Austin R. Cooper, Jr., is the Director of Government Relations for the Initiative for Global Development and President at Cooper Strategic Affairs, Inc.