Senator Mitch McConnell spoke publicly on Tuesday against Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the State Department, saying the cuts would not pass his chamber. McConnell had this to say:
“America being a force is a lot more than building up the Defense Department…Diplomacy is important, extremely important, and I don’t think these reductions at the State Department are appropriate because many times diplomacy is a lot more effective — and certainly cheaper — than military engagement.”
Sen. McConnell (R-Kentucky) is referring to Trump’s proposed 10 percent increase in the military budget that’s expected to raise spending for the Pentagon by $52 billion, even though the United States already spends more on its military than the next eight largest militaries around the world, combined. An additional $2 billion would be used for nuclear weapons. The new base budget would be $574 billion to operate the department, plus $65 billion in war funds, for a total budget of $639 billion, which would need to be approved by Congress annually.
The budget cuts to the State Department would cut the United States’ contributions to the United Nations and its affiliated international agencies, and cap American contributions to U.N. missions at just 25 percent of what was spent under the Obama administration. Also, It would decrease funding to the World Bank and other development banks by approximately $650 million over a three-year period in comparison to the Obama administration’s investments.
About $2.2 billion would be cut from construction of new U.S. embassies and maintenance, but $3.1 billion in Israel aid remains intact. The U.N. Green Climate Fund, which helps developing nations reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be completely defunded, and the budgets for other U.N. climate change programs would be zeroed out as well. The Trump budget blueprint also proposes the elimination of the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance account for humanitarian crises, along with the Complex Crises Fund. That program is necessary to help pay for conflict resolution efforts.
Steven E. Johnson is a Mississippi-based author who covers racial justice and political issues for the Resistance Report. You can contact him at stevejlive at gmail dot com.