Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal was dead on arrival according to top Republican officials. The plan, which calls for a 37% spending cut at the State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID), has not gone over as he planned.
Trump will attempt to convince members of Congress that his budgetary plan will work when he gives his first address to a joint session on Tuesday night.
Before the POTUS can even take the pulpit, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the plan was “D.O.A.”
“It’s not going to happen. It would be a disaster. If you take soft power off the table then you’re never going to win the war,” Senator Graham added.
Trump also wants to drastically increase military spending. Under his proposal, just the increase in money spent on US defense would be greater than Russia’s entire annual defense budget. On Monday, Trump revealed his budget proposal which includes a $54 billion increase in military spending.
In the meantime, Trump would be limiting the money spent on diplomatic efforts, specifically in the form of foreign aid and humanitarian relief.
“What’s most disturbing about the cut to the State Department’s budget is it shows a lack of understanding of what it takes to win the war,” Senator Graham explained.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell echoed those statements, noting that such deep cuts to the US State Department would “probably not” pass through Congress.
Unlike his very public speeches attacking American businesses, immigrants, and foreign powers, Trump this time will need to act in a more professional manner if he plans to gain the attention of the members of Congress. If history has taught us anything, it’s that Trump has very little will power in terms of making his speeches about anything other than himself.
The State Department and USAID combine for an annual spend of $50.1 billion or just over 1% of the total federal budget.
Trump faces an uphill battle with more than 120 retired generals urging Congress to avoid cuts to diplomacy and foreign aid programs.
Here’s a letter the generals sent to Congress.
“As you and your colleagues address the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2018, we write as retired three and four star flag and general officers from all branches of the armed services to share our strong conviction that elevating and strengthening diplomacy and development alongside defense are critical to keeping America safe.”
Now we must wait for Trump to take the stage to see what other cuts he has in plan, both for bolstering a higher military spend and increasing economic output across the board.
In true Trump administration form, a White House official promised that the President’s speech would offer a “renewal of the American spirit.”
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James Kosur is the former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter. He recently served as an editor for Business Insider and various other publications. James and his partners sold Hill Reporter to a new owner in July 2019.