Bracing for Impact: Proposed Budget Cuts to USAID and the State Department

By: @alovelyimperfection

President Donald Trump released his first formal proposed budget to Congress on 16 March 2017. As promised, the “America First” budget is proposing $54 billion in cuts throughout different federal government agencies and programs to offset an increase to the defense budget. Here is a snapshot of some departments that will be experiencing budget cuts: President Donald Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts.

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Department Cuts. n.d. CNN Politics. CNN. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.

President Trump wants to reduce foreign aid, and has reflected this by proposing a 31.4% cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a 28.7% cut to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). If Congress approves this budget, it would cut funding for international development programs and the World Bank. It would also remove funding from programs aimed at combating climate change, therefore, lowering U.S. support to the United Nations’ climate change programs.

Direct impact on Movement for Community-led Development (CLD):

Independent agencies, such as the U.S. African Development Foundation, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the United States Institute of Peace have been suggested for elimination. These agencies provide economic support, childhood development, education and food security, amongst other development services to communities throughout Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Many CLD members’ programs rely on the financial support of USAID, the State Department and numerous independent agencies to support their missions.

It is imperative that Congress does not allow this blueprint to pass because of the negative repercussions it will have on U.S. foreign policy priorities and international development goals.

Additionally, CLD begins and ends with the empowerment of women for gender parity. These budget cuts – receiving strong criticism from both Republicans and Democrats – would jeopardize years of progression that development programs have achieved, particularly in the areas of reproductive and sexual health and gender equality.

The ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) rely heavily on investments and resources from the United States. The influence of U.S. foreign policy garners crucial support from communities and other donor countries around the world.

The Trump Administration’s budget proposal focuses on allocating the majority of federal funds towards defense spending. The international development community must stress to Congress that USAID and the State Department are critical implementers in protecting the United States from foreign attacks or additional immigration pressure.