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White House backs off of proposed $4 billion in foreign aid cuts

'It's clear that there are those on the Hill who aren't willing to join in curbing wasteful spending.'

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The White House does not plan to move forward on a proposal to cut more than $4 billion in foreign aid announced earlier this week, multiple outlets reported Thursday.

A Politico report cited "multiple sources" who say that the president was warned against the rescissions package by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and members of both parties on Capitol Hill, while acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought were in favor of the idea.

"The president has been clear that there is fat in our foreign assistance and we need to be wise about where U.S. money is going, which is why he asked the administration to look into options to doing just that," a senior administration official told Blaze Media while confirming that the president did not plan to move forward with the cuts. "It's clear that there are those on the Hill who aren't willing to join in curbing wasteful spending."

The long-expected package of proposed funding cuts reportedly included a $2.3 billion reduction to USAID grants and a $2 billion hit to State Department operations. The White House sent off a budget cut proposal to the State Department on Thursday of last week, but was met with swift resistance.

In a letter sent to Mnuchin last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged the Treasury chief to "work within the Administration to stop this proposed rescission," which she warned would throw a wrench into "good faith" budget negotiations to avoid a potential government shutdown at the end of September.

In a separate letter, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-K.Y.) urged the president to forgo the supposedly "sweeping and indiscriminate cuts" because they could "undermine significant national security and anti-terrorism efforts of our diplomats and international partners overseas" and "complicate the ability" of the administration to work with congress on future spending deals.

According to information obtained by Blaze Media earlier this week, the proposed cuts included funding for things like desert survival courses in Egypt, crop diversity programs in Bangladesh, diversion programs for felons in El Salvador, agricultural technology investment in Guatemala, and border security for other countries outside the United States.

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