White House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts

The White House will no longer move forward with a proposal to cut billions of dollars in foreign aid that was allocated in the latest congressional budget deal, according to a senior administration official.

The Office of Management and Budget was expected to release a package this week calling for cuts in $4.3 billion in foreign aid through a process known as rescission. But the plan was taken off the table amid pushback from some top administration officials and lawmakers in Congress, the official said.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Amazon backtracks, says email asking employees to delete TikTok was sent in error Amazon asks employees to delete TikTok from mobile devices: report MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Supreme Court upholds NY prosecutors' access to Trump's tax returns, rebuffs Congress | Trump complains of 'political prosecution' | Biden rebukes Trump, rolls out jobs plan Mnuchin: Next stimulus bill must cap jobless benefits at 100 percent of previous income Why Trump can't make up his mind on China MORE were among those encouraging President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' MORE to at least scale back the cuts, and Democrats and Republicans alike had expressed concerns that any potential rescissions package could threaten a budget deal reached last month.

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"The president has been clear that there is waste and abuse in our foreign assistance and we need to be wise about where U.S money is going. Which is why he asked his administration to look into options to doing just that. It’s clear that there are many on the Hill who aren’t willing to join in curbing wasteful spending," a senior administration official told The Hill.

Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthKaren Bass's star rises after leading police reform push Ex-CBO director calls for more than trillion in coronavirus stimulus spending Rep slams 'vulgar images' and 'racist words' that disrupted virtual youth anti-violence event MORE (D-Ky.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, celebrated the decision as "a win."

"The Constitution grants Congress the power of the purse, and we will not cede that authority to this Administration and their constant executive overreach," he tweeted.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBattle over reopening schools heats up Pelosi: Trump wearing a mask is 'an admission' that it can stop spread of coronavirus Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to reopening schools MORE (D-Calif.) argued in a statement that the plan was "clearly illegal," would have harmed national security and violated the "good faith" of a recent deal to raise spending caps.

“It is important for us all to recognize first and foremost our national security interests and Congress’s Constitutional power of the purse as was acknowledged in a bipartisan way in the rescission discussion, as we move forward in the upcoming budget negotiations,” she said.

Trump told reporters earlier this week that the White House was in talks with members of both parties about the foreign aid. He was noncommittal about whether he would follow through in seeking the cuts, but indicated he would be willing to make smaller requests than initially expected.

"Certain things it probably could be, you know, a pennywise. Maybe it’s a pennywise," he said. "We’ll see. But we are looking at it."

Last year, Congress rejected a broader request by the administration to rescind funds as the fiscal year drew to a close.

Politico first reported that the rescissions proposal would not move forward.

Appropriators in Congress had worried that the rescission request would freeze the funds through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Certain proposed cuts remain frozen for a set period unless Congress acts to reject the request.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham says he will call Mueller to testify before Senate panel about Russia probe Romney blasts Trump's Stone commutation: 'Historic corruption' Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE (R-S.C.), a close Trump ally, had called the proposed cuts "concerning," while Democrats such as House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyHouse Democrats push for resuming aid to Palestinians in spending bill House panel approves bill funding WHO, paring back abortion restrictions Democrats sidestep budget deal by seeking 0B in emergency spending MORE (D-N.Y.) decried what she called "the Trump administration’s continued efforts to illegally withhold funding that Congress has approved."

— Niv Elis contributed

Updated: 5:19 p.m.