THE GLOBAL GAB: POTUS Overseas, Budget Lands in Washington, 225 Biz Leaders
May 23, 2017
STATE DEPT BUDGET = JOBS. 225 business leaders from across the U.S. penned a letter to former business icon Secretary Rex Tillerson urging his support of a strong budget for the State Department and USAID. Leaders from Coca-Cola, Land O’Lakes, General Electric, Cargill, UPS, and Walmart – alongside hundreds more – all wrote that “strategic investments in development and diplomacy make America safer and more prosperous.” FOX News just covered the story during their 6pm show, along with headlines in the Wall Street Journal and CNN Money.
TOP BUDGET TAKEAWAYS. Here are 4 quick takeaways from the USGLC’s full budget analysis:
- A DEEP AND DISPROPORTIONATE CUT. The International Affairs Budget takes one of the most disproportionate and devastating cuts – down 32% – in the non-Defense discretionary budget in the Administration’s proposal, taking funding back to levels not seen since 9/11 when adjusted for inflation. As a percentage of GDP, funding would drop to its lowest level since World War II.
- DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES. The proposal also includes a staggering 44% cut for development and economic programs, zeroing out assistance to 37 countries. This could mark a significant downgrading of development assistance as a tool for fighting poverty and advancing American interests around the world.
- GLOBAL HEALTH CUT. Despite broad support for global health programs from both Republicans and Democrats, the latest budget proposal reduces global health by 26%. With a cut of this magnitude, almost every global health program sees at least a small decrease in funding – with some programs taking enormous cuts or eliminated completely.
- HUMANITARIAN FUNDS SLASHED. With growing crises and escalating needs around the world, the budget proposal would cut overall funding for humanitarian assistance by 44%. The Administration has said that this level of funding – and the significant carryover of funds from previous years – will allow the U.S. to address these humanitarian emergencies, while pushing other donors to do more to assist in response efforts. A key area for Congress to watch.
>> Get USGLC’s statement and our top takeaways in the full budget analysis.
LINDSEY GRAHAM. The first reaction to the budget proposal from the senior Senator from South Carolina: “If we implemented this budget, we’d have to retreat from the world and put a lot of people at risk... A lot of Benghazis in the making if we actually implemented the State Department cuts.”
UNITED NATIONS. Ambassador Nikki Haley is also traveling this week with stops at refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey, plus a visit with the World Food Program’s chief David Beasley. “We’re the No. 1 donor here through this crisis, that’s not going to stop,” Haley pledged. Read more on Ambassador Haley’s trip and growing profile in Foreign Policy Magazine.
TOP BRASS. Former SOUTHCOM Commander General James Hill just spoke out against merging USAID into the State Department in a FOXNews.com op-ed calling such a move “misguided, ill-advised, and a direct threat to U.S. national security.”
ACROSS AMERICA. Top leaders from around the country continue to speak out:
- Former GOP Congressman – and one of the Freedom Caucus founders – Matt Salmon made the case in The Arizona Republic, saying that while he understands “the need to tighten our belts” the “International Affairs Budget is categorically the wrong place to start making…cuts.”
- And in the Heartland – in an unlikely pairing – a former Ambassador and a CEO also doubled down on the importance of America’s global leadership for Iowa in The Des Moines Register.
SURVEY SAYS. A new NPR/Ipsos poll reports that a majority of Americans believe that “America's foreign policy should focus on maintaining the current global order — with the U.S. at the center.”
EBOLA IS BACK. An Ebola outbreak was just declared in Democratic Republic of the Congo with 29 cases reported. The World Health Organization has expressed some optimism on containing the outbreak before it spreads further, but experts raise concerns about under-investing in health systems worldwide. This poses a fresh challenge for the newly elected WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the first African to hold the position.
GATES CHIEF. Gates Foundation CEO, Sue Desmond-Hellman, weighed in on the proposed cuts to foreign assistance, noting that this budget “takes square aim at progress by potentially reversing achievements in health and poverty reduction.”