By Jon Dougherty
For the third year in a row, POTUS Donald Trump has submitted a budget that contains a decrease in funding for foreign affairs, most notably a drop in funding for the United Nations, but this time it’ll be Democrats who will likely refuse to approve it.
POTUS’ “FY 2020 budget proposal seeks $42.803 billion for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, around $726 million more than requested in the 2019 budget, but significantly below what the U.S. Congress approved for 2019, $54.418 billion,” CNS News reports, adding that the State/USAID budgets for FY 2017 and FY 2018 were $59.752 and $56.386 respectively.
The budget request sent to Congress notes that funding requested for the UN and other international organizations seeks to fully fund “those organizations critical to our national security but makes cuts or reductions to those whose results are unclear, whose work does not directly affect our national security interests, or for which the funding burden is not fairly shared among members.”
“The [State] Department will continue to work with the international organizations including the U.N. to reduce costs, improve effectiveness, and more fairly share the funding burden,” it adds.
Meanwhile, the request notes that the administration is committed to “promoting U.S. leadership in international organizations as a means of countering actions by countries that do not share U.S. national security interests and values.”
Democrats, however, are prepared to reject it. House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) have said the proposal is “dead on arrival” in Congress.
“Even though the Administration doesn’t seem to get the message, it bears repeating: at a time when the United States is facing crises across the globe, investing in diplomacy and development advances American interests, values, and security,” said Engel in a statement.
Leahy said the budget was “not worth the paper it is printed on,” and predicted that it will be rejected by Congress.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), was more accommodating, however, promising to review the president’s request in due course.
At the State Department, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said that “President Trump has made it clear that U.S. foreign assistance should serve America’s national interest and should support those countries that help us to advance our foreign policy goals.”
The U.S. provides the bulk of funding for the UN — 22 percent of the operating budget. But in 2019, taxpayers would be on the hook for 27.89 percent of the UN peacekeeping budget.
The president’s decrease in UN and foreign affairs funding comes as the national debt tops $22 trillion, though few lawmakers in Congress appear ready or willing to address it, preferring instead to continue kicking the can down the road.
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