Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State via Flickr
Secretary Tillerson Meets With Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

President Donald Trump has proposed a 28% budget cut in next year’s diplomacy and foreign aid. The new budget preserves the $3.1 billion in security aid to Israel, but trim funding for the UN, as well as for climate change and cultural exchange programs.

The State Dept. announced on Thursday: “Today the President released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget blueprint which provides an overview of the Administration’s overarching priorities for discretionary spending. It includes $37.6 billion (down from $50 billion) for the Department of State and US Agency for International Development (USAID), of which $12.0 billion is Overseas Contingency Operations funding.

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“The FY 2018 budget advances the national security interests of the United States by focusing on diplomatic efforts and foreign assistance programs that advance the security and prosperity of the American people.

“The budget blueprint includes $3.1 billion to meet our security assistance commitments to Israel and supports other critical foreign assistance efforts, including global health and humanitarian assistance programs. The budget also supports diplomatic engagement activities, and ensures the safety of our diplomats by applying $2.2 billion towards new embassy construction and maintenance. The budget will support Department of State and USAID efforts to optimize organizational effectiveness, helping us work to efficiently achieve our diplomatic and development goals and objectives.”

According to Politico, Trump originally wanted a 37% reduction in the State Department’s budget, but gave in to pressure from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Tillerson said on Thursday that his Department’s current spending was “not sustainable,” adding that he accepted the “challenge” from President Donald Trump to slash its budget. “Clearly the level of spending that the State Department has been undertaking, particularly in this past year, is simply not sustainable,” Tillerson said in Tokyo. “As time goes by, there will be fewer military conflicts that the U.S. will be directly engaged in.”

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