Facing bipartisan opposition, President Donald Trump has scrapped an effort to cut some $4 billion in foreign aid that lawmakers had already approved.
A senior administration official and a Democratic congressional aide confirmed the decision Thursday. Both spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
The potential cut to programs at the State Department and the US Agency for International Development had drawn criticism from Republicans and Democrats. The administration official said it was clear that many on Capitol Hill weren’t willing to join in “curbing wasteful spending.”
Since taking office, the Trump administration has sought each year to slash foreign affairs funding by as much as 30%. Those budget proposals have been soundly rejected by lawmakers from both parties.
The president told reporters Sunday that he backed the cuts saying, “in some cases, these are countries that we should not be giving to.” He also said that foreign aid cuts can lead to talks that improve relationships.
Opponents of the move also warned about the impact the cuts would have on national security and US foreign policy objectives. A senior administration official told CNN last week that the rescission package included money to the United Nations — including some peacekeeping funds — funding for the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, and cultural programs.