White House to Proceed With Ending Some Foreign Aid Payments

Justin Sink

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration will move forward within days with a plan to cancel certain foreign aid payments authorized by Congress, setting up a fight with lawmakers opposed to the move.

A senior administration official confirmed that the so-called rescissions package would be announced early next week.

Some of the funding being zeroed out was for projects like installing solar panels in the Caribbean and creating safe spaces in Ireland for people upset about Brexit, said the administration official, who declined to be identified discussing plans not yet made public.

Unspent funds for certain climate-related projects in Asia and Africa are also being targeted for elimination.

CNN reported Saturday that the move would take aim at funding for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as the United Nations for certain peace-keeping operations in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

The official said that Congress during the Trump administration has funded State and USAID at about $12 billion above the president’s budget requests, and that the rescission package would return some of that excess back to the budget.

Republican lawmakers who are typically Trump allies, notably Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, this week urged the president to reconsider “in the strongest possible terms” after word of the possible rescissions was reported.

“We share your concern about our mounting national debt, which in itself creates security risks to the country,” Graham and Representative Hal Rogers of Kentucky said in a letter to Trump. “However, it has been reported that this proposal makes sweeping and indiscriminate cuts without regard to national security impacts.”

(Updates throughout with detail.)

--With assistance from Jordan Fabian.

To contact the reporter on this story: Justin Sink in Washington at jsink1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at awayne3@bloomberg.net, Ros Krasny, Steve Geimann

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