Senator Graham, close Trump ally, joins opponents to planned U.S.
foreign aid cuts
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[August 17, 2019]
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator Lindsey
Graham and Representative Hal Rogers urged President Donald Trump on
Friday to drop planned "sweeping and indiscriminate" foreign aid cuts,
joining a chorus of lawmakers opposing what they consider a bid to
sidestep Trump's own budget deal.
Trump administration officials have said they are reviewing State
Department and U.S. Agency for International Development spending with
an eye to using a budget process known as "rescission" to slash some
$4.3 billion in aid spending, defying Congress, which passed legislation
- signed into law by Trump - backing such spending.
"Not only do these cuts have the potential to undermine significant
national security and anti-terrorism efforts of our diplomats and
international partners overseas, but we fear such a rescission package
could complicate the ability of the Administration and Congress to work
constructively on future appropriations deals," the two lawmakers said
in a letter to Trump.
Graham and Rogers said they had supported a budget deal with the
administration in good faith, and said plans to use the budget mechanism
to sidestep that pact "seems an abdication of this bipartisan
Graham, typically a close Trump ally, is chairman of the Senate
appropriations subcommittee that handles foreign affairs and foreign aid
spending. Rogers is the ranking Republican on the comparable House of
Trump signed the budget deal into law two weeks ago, after urging
Congress to pass it.
A senior administration official said the rescissions package would
involve more than $4 billion and likely would be sent to Congress early
next week, although it was not yet determined how much of that money
would end up being cut.
[to top of second column]
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
speaks before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the
proposed budget estimates and justification for FY2020 for the State
Department on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 9, 2019.
REUTERS/Jeenah Moon/File Photo
The official said programs likely to be cut included some money for
the United Nations and for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, but
that the administration did not foresee cuts in global health
spending, a women's program championed by Trump's daughter Ivanka or
money spent to protect Christian religious minorities.
Graham and Rogers follow many others, including the top Democrats
and Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign
Affairs committees, who have come out against the reported plan to
make proposed cuts.
Congress had pushed back last year against a similar rescissions
"We are happy to work with you to ensure that our foreign assistance
is targeted in the most appropriate way. However, we discourage you
from submitting this rescission package in the strongest possible
terms," Graham and Rogers said.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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