The Trump administration’s 2018 budget features a whole lot of cuts to programs and agencies that don’t seem to jibe with economic reality. Critics have spoken up already, and undoubtedly will continue to in the coming weeks, but not always for the reasons you’d think. One example: John McCain who thinks there isn’t enough for defense spending. Another: Senator Lindsey Graham who fears that cuts to the State Department could cause “a lot of Benghazis.”
Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee on the State Department and foreign operations and has said Congress wouldn’t approve this bill as is:
“If we implemented this budget, we’d have to retreat from the world and put a lot of people at risk,” Graham said on the day the Trump administration is releasing its detailed budget proposal for next year. “A lot of Benghazis in the making if we actually implemented the State Department cuts.”
“A 29 percent cut means you really have to withdraw from the world because your presence is compromised,” Graham said. “That may be the goal of this budget. It’s not my goal. This guts soft power as we know it.”
Under the Trump budget, the State Department and USAID expenditures would be cut by 31%, from $54.9 billion to $37.6 billion, however if emergency funding was kept in place, the cut would only be 29%. The cuts to State would include the overall Worldwide Security Protection budget and security upgrades, and there’s the option to kick the can down the road by using leftover funds from the current fiscal year.
Other cuts at state would include aid to international organizations and NGOs, peacekeeping efforts, health programs, and more.
Asked if Graham and the Republicans were united against these particular cuts, Graham said, “I think enough of us are.”
(via Washington Post)