ThroughoutPresident Trump’s campaign, quite a few promises were made. One of thesepromises was the building of a wall to divide the United States and Mexico. Infact the House Homeland Security funding subcommittee has approved a $1.6billion down payment for this wall along the border (Taylor, 2017) With suchexorbitant costs like this, Trump has proposed cutting almost $17 billion fromforeign aid while House Republicans have proposed a reduction of about $10billion (Taylor, 2017) Some of these reduction include a “cut to US payments tothe UN by $600 million and cut funding for multilateral organizations thatfocus on topics such as climate change and debt relief by more than 60%” (Taylor,2017).
All of these cuts are a product of Trump’s new agenda, which is what “Trump’stop diplomat says priority should be, US security, prosperity” (Morello, Gearan2017). What is interesting to consider, especially since these cuts are sodrastic, is that they are actually lower than what President Trump intendedoriginally. For now, the nondefense spending bills are very difficult to passwithout the help of the Democrats and the Senate sees even more delays than inCongress. However, health research will see a $1.1 billion increase and a 2%increase for special education funding (Taylor, 2017). Although major cuts are being made by the House, there isstill pushback by members of Congress to not fulfill Trumps cuts in its entirety.In fact, the 38% cut to humanitarian assistance has caused some fo the greatestpushback from lawmakers (US Official News, 2017). In these two groups oflawmakers, those who are in accordance with the major budget cuts and those whoare not, there is an opportunity for change.
One lawmaker who is very much inaccordance with Trump’s budget cuts is Tillerson, the Secretary of State, whobelieves the main goal of the government and especially State Department shouldbe in the protection of its own citizens rather than diplomatic efforts. Healso defends these cuts in foreign aid arguing that this does not mean “Trumpis retreating from global leadership” (Morello, Gearan, 2017) Many lawmakers,such as Sen Lindsey Graham of South Carolina push back and have said, “Ibelieve this budget request is radial and reckless when it comes to soft power”(Morello, Gearan, 2017). Others, not on the Hill, are also concerned of theramifications of these budget cuts. Gates, a billionaire philanthropist, “fearsforeign cuts may hit Africa’s AIDS fight” (Kahn, 2017). Gates has been at theforefront of the fight against AIDS in Africa donating a great deal of his own wealthbut also working with the US government in this effort. The goal was that HIVand AIDS would be eradicated by 2030 but a cut as little as 10% could “lead tothe death of 5.
6 million people by 2030″ (Kahn 2017). Gates is staying optimistic especiallyconsidering the alternative as these proposed cuts are cutting almost “$1bn offUS contribution to global HIV and AIDS efforts, including a $222m cut to itscontribution to the Global Fund” (Kahn 2017). An initiative like this is one of the greatestexamples of the ramifications of Trump’s proposed budget cuts. Toaddress this, Senators and former diplomats are at the forefront urging for arevamp of strategy for overseas assistance (Wadhams, 2017). This task force,headed by Republican Senator Todd Young and Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen,proposes giving the “US Agency for International Development a seat on theWhite House’s National Security Council” (Wadhams, 2017).
This task force is very much trying to fightTrump and now Tillerson’s efforts to merge USAID and overall cut of the State Department’sbudget and instead calls for changes that include merging some State Departmentfunctions into USAID (Wadhams, 2017).Overall,Trump’s budget cuts on foreign aid are only one major step to increase militaryefforts and move towards his protectionist agenda.