President Donald Trump is considering abandoning a large portion of the billions of dollars in foreign aid cuts his budget hawks are pushing, as he finds himself torn again between his top advisers and seeking to cut federal spending after signing a major budget deal earlier this month.
In a call Monday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trump expressed a willingness to scale back the plan to freeze more than $4 billion for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development in the current fiscal year, according to three sources familiar with the call. Much of the cut would hit the United Nations.
Trump acknowledged Tuesday some changes in the plan may be in store. “We’re looking at it, and we’re looking at it in different ways,” the president said, asked by reporters about the proposed cuts. “We’re talking to Republicans and Democrats about it.”
Certain cuts might be “a pennywise,” Trump said, adding that the administration still has “some things that are on the table very much.” The president said his administration will probably announce a final decision on the so-called rescission package within a week.
Even Republicans in Congress have warned the president that the move would be illegal, detrimental to national security and risks souring the tone of bipartisan funding negotiations ahead of another Sept. 30 shutdown deadline.