Politics, Americas

Trump proposes more aid cut for Colombia

New budget slashes economic aid by $36 million

Laura Gamba   | 11.02.2020
Trump proposes more aid cut for Colombia

BOGOTA, Colombia

The Trump's administration is proposing a 8% cut in 2021 aid to Colombia, with a budget request of $413 million for the South American country.

The amount is $36 million less that resources Congress approved in fiscal year 2020.

The budget request released Monday is higher than what he had asked for last year when he planned to spend $344 million in Colombia -- $70 million less than what he is asking for 2021, yet Congress ended up raising the figure to almost $450 million.

In Colombia it matters especially because the relationship between the two states is based on several key issues, but most importantly on the war on drugs.

The bulk of the money is divided into two major components: development aid and other social programs and resources for the fight against drug trafficking, the military and the strengthening of justice. The budget presented by Trump basically increases anti-drug aid (fumigation) and cuts back on "non-drug" economic and social programs.

As has happened in the past, this figure ends up being only a starting point for Congress, that usually makes big changes to Trump’s budget requests.

However, this time the proposal is closer to what Congress approved in 2018 (436 million) and 2019 (422 million).

The proposed cut for Colombia, moreover, is much lower than the overall cut the president requested for foreign aid.

The Trump's administration is proposing a 22% cut in aid the United States provides to foreign countries, with a budget request of $44.1 billion, compared with $55.7 billion enacted for 2020.

Congress will hardly agree upon the budget. In fact, some including House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel have already expressed concern about a declining foreign aid budget.

“I'm seeing reports that the Trump Administration will again push for steep cuts to foreign assistance. If that's the case, the White House should save some trees rather than sending us a budget that's headed straight here,” he tweeted Monday, attaching a photo of a blue plastic “House of Representatives” trash receptacle.

The next few months will probably be filled with partisan debates on how to use taxpayer funds.

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