No take-backs on foreign aid

August 23, 2018
by John Fawcett, Director of Global Policy and Advocacy

Take turns. Share. No take-backs. These are rules that kids on a playground know by heart. But the White House isn’t playing fair when it comes to foreign aid.

According to press reports, President Trump is considering using an unprecedented budget trick to take back billions of dollars in foreign aid to low-income countries aid that Congress already approved and has been signed into law.

So what exactly is going on here? The White House proposed slashing the budget for international affairs by over a third, but Congress has largely rejected those cuts on a bipartisan basis. Having failed to persuade Congress to enact his slash-and-burn budget, the president may try to exploit a loophole by canceling funding that’s already been approved by Congress. This “rescissions” tactic would normally require the approval of Congress, but with only a few weeks left in the federal fiscal year, the president can run out the clock and funds will expire.

Experts aren’t even sure this is legal, but there’s no doubt this is a serious and unprecedented threat to foreign aid spending that undermines Congress’ constitutional power of the purse.

Act now: ask your members of Congress to protect foreign aid.


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