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 PompeoSondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn't try to block official's testimony Five bombshells from explosive Sondland testimony MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Trump says he's 'looking at' Apple tariff exemption during tour of Texas plant Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny MORE were among those encouraging President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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 YarmuthOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Kentucky Democrat: McConnell's agenda driven by 'power without a purpose' 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 PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal 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: Report on alleged surveillance abuse in 2016 to be released Dec. 9 McConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process' Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack 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 LoweyOn The Money: House passes monthlong stopgap | Broader spending talks stall | Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns | Progressives ramp up attacks on private equity House passes stopgap as spending talks stall Key GOP senator: 'We need a breakthrough' on spending talks 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.