Power Suits 16 March 2017
Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal would slash the US foreign affairs budget by almost a third. It would also eliminate key programs for low-income communities at home.
The president is asking Congress for just under $26 billion in base funding for the State Department and the US international aid agency, a $10 billion reduction.
According to the blueprint published by the administration on Wednesday, the US would eliminate all funding for international climate change initiatives, and reduce funding for UN agencies and peacekeeping, international educational exchanges and the World Bank.
But one area remains untouched. The president’s proposal “provides $3.1 billion to meet the security assistance commitment to Israel, currently at an all-time high.”
That record-breaking aid is set to soar even higher: last year, the Obama administration signed an agreement to boost US aid to Israel to $3.8 billion annually from 2019 onwards.
As the Congressional Research Service notes, “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II.” As of 2016, that aid had totalled $127.4 billion.
It’s a point of pride for Trump and his backers to smash Washington orthodoxies. His proposal does away with a number of longstanding programs, many much smaller than spending on Israel.
While boosting bloated military spending by another $54 billion, Trump’s budget would, as The Washington Post reports, eliminate dozens of federal programs that assist the poor and fund scientific research.
Among those on the chopping block in Trump’s so-called “America First” budget are the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a $3 billion a year fund to help heat homes in the winter, and the Community Development Block Grant, which supports affordable housing and homelessness programs.
It would also eliminate federal funding of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The Environmental Protection Agency would lose 50 programs and thousands of workers.
And, the budget would slash $5.8 billion – or 20 percent – of the funding of the National Institutes of Health, which has been instrumental in finding cures for disease.
In the US system, the president proposes a budget, but it is up to Congress to decide to pass it and there are sure to be fierce fights to protect many of the programs that face such deep cuts.
But given the “bipartisan” consensus, don’t expect much of a battle over the billions of dollars that will continue to flow to Israel’s apartheid regime while vulnerable Americans bear the brunt of Trump’s austerity.
Annual handouts to Israel.
Permalink larry white replied on
Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar,s.
The US Congress is bought and paid for by the Israeli lobby , ergo is subservient to Israel.
US Presidents are helpless
Permalink Iqbal Malik replied on
US Presidents are helpless people when ever its a matter related to Israel. Bibi hundreds of time insulted Obama and he was not even able to answer one. Trump has no experience, no strategy beside to think how he can be reelected in the next election. So it's not a surprise.
Trump is not Obama
Permalink John Costello replied on
Trump is not Obama. Obama, like all of his predecessors, was the de facto leader of his party and therefore bore a responsibility to do everything in his power to help his Congress hold onto or pick up seats. While Trump may hold the same position as party leader, I believe that he neither has a close relationship with regular members nor the loyalty a normal President would have for his party.
I'm not saying he is or even might be open to pushing for justice for Palestine, only that unlike normal Presidents, he could be. The last time a US President was even close to as alienated from his own party was the presidency of Jimmy Carter.
Of course Carter's a good man, whereas Trump has yet to give any indication that he is. Still, he's relatively unbound, if unhinged.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
Permalink JJ replied on
It's now becoming obvious to all of us (bar the most hard-line of his supporters) that Trump is not going to be the refreshing wind of change that he advertised himself as during the election campaign.
Lowering or cutting aid entirely to Israel is the one thing he could have done to help improve and heal U.S./Middle Eastern relations overnight. Instead he chooses to substantially raise Israeli aid. Sheesh!