Top Armed Services Dem: Trump budget 'shortsighted' for cutting foreign aid

Top Armed Services Dem: Trump budget 'shortsighted' for cutting foreign aid

The top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee is calling President Trump’s proposed defense budget “shortsighted” for slashing foreign aid to boost defense spending.

“It is shortsighted to slash foreign aid and diplomacy,” Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedTrump's missile defense plan faces reality check Overnight Energy: Pentagon report warns of climate threats to bases | Court halts offshore oil testing permits | Greens challenge federal drilling work during shutdown Overnight Defense: Second Trump-Kim summit planned for next month | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking Afghanistan trip plans | Pentagon warns of climate threat to bases | Trump faces pressure to reconsider Syria exit MORE (D-R.I.) said in a statement Tuesday. “Americans know it is a lot more cost-effective to clean your gutters than it is to ignore the problem until you have water coming in through the roof. President Trump’s lack of foresight could cost Americans dearly.”

On Monday, the Trump administration revealed it will propose a $603 billion base defense budget — $54 billion above what budget caps would allow.

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The proposal has been hit by both Democrats, who are blasting the cuts to nondefense spending, and Republican defense hawks, who have been pushing for a $640 billion base defense budget.

The administration has not said specifically where the cuts will be made, but has signaled cuts will be to foreign aid and the State Department, among others.

Trump’s plan would blow up the Budget Control Act by increasing defense spending above the caps set in the law while not giving an equal boost to nondefense spending.

Trump and Republicans have said the caps should be lifted for defense. But Democrats have long demanded parity for defense and nondefense spending.

In his statement, Reed maintained that stance.

“The sequester is bad for both defense and domestic priorities, and my aim is to fix them both,” he said.

Reed also argued, as he has in the past, that domestic programs also contribute to national security and so shouldn’t have their funding cut.

“We also have to recognize that national security goes beyond Army brigades, Marine regiments, and the number of aircraft carriers at sea,” he said. “The State Department, Justice Department, Homeland Security, CDC, Treasury and other federal agencies all play indispensable roles in safeguarding our nation, and if the increase in defense spending comes at the cost of domestic priorities, it could make our country less secure in the long run.”

Reed also said Congress needs to ask questions about whether the budget proposal is guided by defense strategy and need.

“We must do everything we can to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and that starts with making smart choices about allocating resources,” he said. “Congress must consider several factors: Is the budget addressing the needs of our Armed Forces? Does the Pentagon have the capacity to effectively spend the money?"