A smart move. President Donald Trump will propose cutting billions of dollars in U.S. foreign aid in his fiscal 2021 budget while seeking an increase in funds to counter developing economic threats from China and Russia, senior administration officials told Reuters. Trump, a Republican, sought in his budget proposal last year to slash foreign aid but faced steep resistance from Congress and did not prevail. His latest budget, is a blueprint for his spending proposals that is unlikely, again, to be passed, particularly in an election year.
Trump will seek to make a 21% cut in foreign aid in the proposal, which seeks $44.1 billion in the upcoming fiscal year compared with $55.7 billion enacted in fiscal year 2020. Aid to Ukraine would remain at its 2020 levels under the new proposal. Trump was acquitted last week of impeachment charges that he withheld aid to Ukraine to spur Kiev to investigate political rival Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. vice president. U.S. officials want to counter the soft power China has wielded with such loans and help countries avoid what they consider Beijing’s “debt trap” diplomacy in which countries give up control ports, roadways or other major assets when they fund infrastructure projects with Chinese loans that they cannot pay back.