- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 15, 2019

Money for a “Green New Deal in Africa” and a solar panel project for Central Asia are among the targets for the Trump White House as it aims to slash what it sees as a bloated U.S. foreign aid budget.

The Washington Times obtained a list of some of the project cuts, or “rescissions,” that the White House is eyeing. In addition to the African climate change and Central Asian projects, officials aim to curtail funding for diversifying fuel choices in Europe, sustainable use of ocean resources, and environmental trust funds.

A senior administration official said the final package of foreign aid cuts likely will be announced next week.

“The president himself has stated that we should only be sending foreign aid to those who respect us and are our friends,” the official told The Washington Times.

“The United States should not be financially responsible for diversifying fuel choices in Europe, purchasing solar panels in Central Asia or funding the United Nations version of the Green New Deal in Africa. This administration is committed to cutting wasteful spending, which is why this rescissions package is so important and timely.”

The Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development on Aug. 3 notifying them of a temporary freeze on spending of some foreign aid funds that Congress had approved, but for which money had not been spent in this fiscal year.

Officials said at the time the goal was to take a look at the money being spent and see if there were areas that could be trimmed.

The range of total cuts reportedly could fall in the range of $2 billion to $4 billion.

Democrats have warned they plan to put up a fight over any proposed cuts in foreign aid for the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

Party leaders on Capitol Hill said Mr. Trump was violating the Constitution by cutting money Congress had approved.

Yet Congress could be hard-pressed to block any cancellation of foreign aid before the year-end deadline.

OMB also asked the State Department and USAID a year ago for an accounting of money for unnecessary projects that could be returned to the Treasury.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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