Published: Sat, March 04, 2017
U.S. | By Vera Richards

State Department Faces 37% Trump Funding Cut as Senators Resist

State Department Faces 37% Trump Funding Cut as Senators Resist

Also worrisome is his reported plan to fund the increase in defense expenditures by slashing the budgets for such policy areas as diplomacy and aid to developing countries. Trump wants to cut non-defense discretionary spending by an equivalent amount - $54 billion - to $462 billion.

On Monday, they got even more reason for concern. One thing is turning a lot of heads: His promise to increase military spending by $54 billion: "I am sending the Congress a budget that rebuilds the military, eliminates the defense sequester, and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history". "Much of what they do is state and local grants for clean water and clear air and that kind of stuff", he said. And based upon the paltry proposal advanced by the Office of Management and Budget, Trump is already planning to renege on one of his principal campaign promises: to rebuild the us military.

"When I hear if we cut foreign aid we can balance the budget, it's just a complete lie", said Graham, pointing to the relatively small size of the global affairs budget. Beneficiaries of American non-military aid include Pakistan and Afghanistan, which are critical to USA anti-terrorism efforts. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-AL) is opposed to proposed State Department cuts, while Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) refers to the Trump plan as "dead on arrival".

"The military will lead the fight against terrorism on the battlefield, but it needs strong civilian partners in the battle against the drivers of extremism - lack of opportunity, insecurity, injustice, and hopelessness", the military leaders wrote in the letter, which was distributed by the U.S. Now is not the time to retreat. The White House wants the State Department and foreign-aid budgets to bear much of the burden.

The numbers Trump's director of Office of Management and Budget, Rick Mulvaney, has circulated bear little resemblance to the ideas put forth in the speech.

Luckily, Bill Hoagland, once a Republican budget aide in the Senate who now serves as the senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center, doesn't think Trump's plan has a leg to stand on.

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Trump has repeatedly said that he will not cut entitlements, and said Monday he planned to cut from other government departments with the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency expected to be a particularly hit.

Mark Toner, State's acting spokesman, declined to give specifics about what divisions of his department could be affected. "They're a popular target, but they're very important", he said, according to Reuters. Politifact notes that it's actually in line with previous spending increases, and that since 1977, at least ten years saw increases in spending bigger than this one. "No one's gonna stand pat". Several leading lawmakers said diplomacy and foreign aid, often called "soft power", ensure national security in tandem with military forces and weapons. "Can we spend more foreign aid, more effectively?"

Carve out the programs Trump says he'll protect or expand and he's implying a cut in the remaining programs of more than 10 percent. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware.

Some Americans - including members of Congress on both sides of the aisle - are opposed to this spending boost, because the administration has claimed that it will come at the cost of some domestic and foreign spending, particularly at agencies that the administration dislikes.

Some at the department hope that Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, will be able to exert some influence on Trump.

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