Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week

Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Coronavirus hits defense contractor jobs Wake up America, your country doesn't value your life MORE said Tuesday that a decision on whether to try to suspend certain foreign aid funds would likely be coming within a week.

"We’re looking at it, and we’re looking at it in different ways," Trump told reporters during a meeting with the Romanian president in the Oval Office. "We’re talking to Republicans and Democrats about it and certain things we could save." 

"We have some things on the table very much, and we’ll let you know over the next probably sooner than a week," he added.

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The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been working on a request for a budget process known as "rescission" that would cut $4.3 billion in foreign aid that has already been approved by Congress.

Sending the request to lawmakers could freeze the unobligated funds through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 unless Congress formally overturns the request, a move that could leave limited time for the administration to direct the funds.

Trump on Tuesday also seemed to hint that the scale of the proposed cuts could be smaller than first reported.

"Certain things, it could probably be a pennywise," Trump said. 

Bloomberg and Politico reported earlier Tuesday that Trump was considering limiting the request to cutting a few hundred million dollars following phone conversations with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoCoronavirus response reveals deep fractures in global partnerships Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike COVID-19 intensifies the case for blacklisting Khalifa Haftar  MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinSunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on Struggling states warn coronavirus stimulus falls short Trump asserts power to decide what info inspector general gives Congress about stimulus package MORE.

Whether or not the request is scaled back, the move could complicate talks to fund the government before the end of the fiscal year.

Both Democrats and Republicans have railed against a potential rescission.

"We strongly urge the Administration to refrain from sending a rescission message to the Congress," Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthHouse Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Kentucky Democrat: House lawmakers will not vote remotely during outbreak Dem Congressman: Coronavirus stimulus should be bigger than 2008 MORE (D-Ky.) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Poll: Trump, Biden in dead heat in 2020 matchup Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on MORE (I-Vt.), key members of the House and Senate Budget committees, wrote in a Monday letter to OMB Director Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump to nominate Russell Vought as budget chief Warren, Brown press consumer bureau on auto lending oversight Bottom line MORE.

"However, in the event the Administration submits such a message, it must take measures to ensure that the affected funds will be prudently obligated in the event the Congress does not approve the rescission, as required by law,” they added.

Across the aisle, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on Campaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus MORE (R-S.C.) and Rep. Hal RogersHarold (Hal) Dallas RogersBottom line Appropriators face crucial weekend to reach deal Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week MORE (R-Ky.) — the top Republicans on the Senate and House Appropriations subcommittees that deal with foreign aid — had similarly strong words.

"At a time when threats from Iran are increasing, ISIS has not been vanquished, the Administration is putting significant pressure on the regime in Venezuela, and aiming to curtail the North Korea nuclear program, the rescission package is particularly concerning," the pair wrote in a letter to Trump last week. 

"A move to rescind funding absent policy input from the Department of State and [United States Agency for International Development] only undermines our national security interests and emboldens our adversaries," they added.

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

Brett Samuels contributed.