WASHINGTON – A Republican budget plan would cut billions of dollars in spending on the State Department and foreign programs, including US contributions to the United Nations.
The proposed cuts, announced Friday, are part of an overall Republican effort in the House of Representatives to reduce spending by $100 billion over the next seven months. Leaders in the Democrat-controlled Senate say the proposals are unrealistic.
The planned cuts to State Department and foreign operations amount to $3.8 billion, or an eight percent reduction from last year.
"I will ensure that our foreign aid is not used as a stimulus bill for foreign countries," Republican congresswoman Kay Granger, who chairs a budget subcommittee, said in a statement.
The bill proposes "scaling back contributions to the United Nations and other international organizations, and eliminating wasteful, duplicative and ineffective programs."
However, the measure would maintain $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt and up to $250 million in economic assistance.
Granger said the bill "protects key national security priorities by fully funding the $3 billion US commitment to Israel and sustaining current diplomatic and development actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan."
"The spending priorities in the bill reflect the fluid and tenuous situation in the Middle East," Granger said.
"Volatility in the region highlights the importance of reaffirming our strategic partnerships and commitments," she added. "The events in the Middle East have a direct impact on the safety and security of the United States and our allies."