WH budget chief: GOP spending bill would interfere with diplomacy

White House budget director Shaun Donovan on Wednesday said a nearly $48 billion bill to fund the State Department and foreign operations next year would impede diplomatic efforts around the world.

For diplomatic and development operations, for example, House Republicans provide $869 million less than President Obama’s request.

The funding level “will pose a significant constraint on USAID and the Department of State’s ability to conduct diplomatic engagement. Taken together, these cuts would impede our ability to conduct effective diplomacy and development, essential components of our national security,” Donovan wrote in a letter to appropriators.

House appropriators will mark up the bill Thursday.

Overall, the bill provides funding that is 11 percent below Obama’s budget request.

{mosads}“The bill slashes a number of critical programs, increasing the threats to security associated with global unrest, global financial insecurity, instability in Central America, and climate change,” Donovan said.

Like other GOP spending bills, the measure includes a policy provision that would prohibit the use of funds for a new U.S. embassy in Cuba, in an effort to undermine Obama’s executive actions meant to normalize relations with the Communist nation.

Donovan said this provision would interfere with the executive branch’s ability “to make the best decisions consistent with our national security.”

The bill provides $900 million less than Obama’s request for international peacekeeping efforts and $241 million less for anti-terrorism and nonproliferation programs, the letter said.

Donovan said these cuts would “undermine critical counterterrorism and nonproliferation programs” that are intended to fight violent extremism, address foreign fighter flows and reduce terrorist safe havens.

The bill provides $2.7 billion below Obama’s request for economic and development assistance abroad, said Donovan, who explained it will damage the U.S.’s ability to support allies.

Low funding levels for assistance to foreign countries, for example, would impair the administraiton’s ability to help Central America address the factors driving people to migrate to the U.S. Just a year ago, migration across the border exploded into a crisis that involved tens of thousands of unaccompanied children crossing illegally into the U.S. 

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