The Trump administration is proposing sharp cuts to the budget for international diplomacy and aid in 2019, in line with a determination to boost spending on the military and cut it elsewhere.
Administration officials said the $39.3 billion request to Congress for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development was $1.5 billion higher than their initial request of $37.8 billion, which was included in the White House’s budget that was released Monday.
The addition was the result of a bipartisan budget deal reached Friday and the extra funds will go toward humanitarian aid, global health programs and the UN, officials said on Monday afternoon.
With the overall budget request, “the administration will protect Americans at home and overseas by countering the gravest threats to US national security,” said Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan. The agency will also “build the strength and intensity of international effort to prevent North Korea, Iran and other actors from unlawfully acquiring weapons of mass destruction in their means of delivery,” he said.
But the proposed 29% cut from 2017 funding levels — even as crises escalate in Asia and the Middle East and many key State Department positions remain unfilled — drew sharp protests from lawmakers, retired military leaders and development advocates, who argued that it would undermine US security and leadership.