Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the East Room of the White House in Washington , DC on Feb. 15, 2017 with an Israeli flag in the background.
(photo credit: SAUL LOEB / AFP)
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration earlier this year promised dramatic cuts to US foreign aid programs, and it appears to be following through with an evisceration of the United States Agency for International Development, according to a draft document obtained by news website Foreign Policy.
The 15-page State Department document reveals US President Donald Trump’s plan to cut funding from at least 41 countries receiving aid, including an absolute cut of development aid to several poor nations reliant on American help. The administration’s plan would shut roughly 65% of USAID ’s regional bureaus, the report says.
Among those nations affected would be Egypt, which is currently lobbying the administration to maintain its military assistance, and Jordan, for whom the prior administration increased aid due to the crippling effects of the Syrian refugee crisis there.
Republicans and Democrats alike have balked at the plan, and at last month’s annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee – which is lobbying to maintain foreign aid – leaders from both parties promised to maintain funding. But a compromise is expected, and programs like USAID will invariably suffer from significant cuts.
Trump aides want to merge USAID with the State Department in an effort to streamline the executive branch. The United States Agency for International Development was set up by John F. Kennedy to help underdeveloped nations with disaster relief and underfunded socioeconomic programs.