NEW YORK, March 16, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC is deeply concerned by President Trump's proposed 29 percent cut in funding to the State Department and USAID.
"Without robust diplomacy and strong foreign aid, the United States will not be able to play its necessary role as a global leader," said AJC CEO David Harris.
"Any budget process must absolutely consider inefficiencies and redundancies," Harris continued, "but the proposed draconian cuts in areas vital to executing U.S. foreign policy could adversely affect our national security interests by potentially creating more pressure on the American military, while essential diplomacy is being undermined. Deep cuts to the State Department, including in key educational and cultural exchange programs, will severely harm America's ability to assert our interests and values abroad."
AJC is troubled by the elimination of the $50 million Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance account. As Europe and the Middle East strain to deal with millions of new migrants and refugees, U.S. abdication of responsibility will leave key allies, already strapped and battling domestic challenges, struggling to make ends meet.
At the same time, AJC applauds President Trump's commitment to maintaining vital and mutually beneficial support for Israel by preserving $3.1 billion in security aid that President Obama pledged to the Jewish state. Indeed, that aid, it should also be noted, is a boon to the American defense industry, as the percentage Israel spends in the U.S., currently about 75 percent of the aid, will rise to a full 100 percent by the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding the U.S. and Israel signed last year.
The budget proposal also calls for decreasing U.S. contributions to the United Nations.
Despite its significant flaws, the UN allows the U.S. to exert influence and serve the national interests of our country, along with those of allies such as Israel. A void in American leadership at the UN would erode international commitments to universality, equality, and freedom, not to mention peacekeeping operations, that the U.S. has invested so much energy in securing since World War II.
"Recognizing that a President's budget proposal is only a first step, AJC looks to Congress to assure the proper and efficient balance of military spending, diplomacy, and foreign aid," said Harris. "Each of these is an integral ingredient in effective and proactive national security. We count on Congress to right the imbalance and ensure that our nation devotes the resources necessary to lead on the world stage."
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SOURCE American Jewish Committee