Republicans Want to Defund USAID

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Ben Cohen
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Some depressing news from Foreign Policy Magazine:

As the budget battle inside the Republican Party heats up, a large group of conservative House Republicans called Thursday for a drastic defunding of the U.S. Agency for International Development and a host of other programs.

The Republican Study Committee (RSC), a loose conglomeration of 165 self-identified conservative GOP House members, unveiled their plan Thursday that they argue could save $2.5 trillion in federal spending over ten years. The proposal is centered around legislation that would slash or eliminate federal funding for USAID, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the U.S. Trade Development Agency, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the USDA Sugar Program, economic assistance to Egypt, and many other programs.

The RSC plan calls for $1.39 billion in annual savings from USAID. The USAID operating budget for fiscal 2010 was approximately $1.65 billion.

Aid programs are really one of the only worthwhile foreign policy endeavors the US government participates in. Illegal invasions and crippling trade agreements have done enormous harm around the world, and there seems to be an endless amount of money available for anything involving violence or oil. The cuts, if enacted, would be devastating to countries reliant on the trickle of cash coming from the US government. But the GOP has never really showed an interest in constructive foreign policy, preferring to focus on American hegemony and short term economic interest.