Monday, February 21, 2011

U.S. Plans To Cut Global Aid By 10% To 30%

The new Republican majority in the House of Representatives is planning to cut global foreign aid programs by 10% to 30% this year to help reduce the U.S. budget deficit. According to an estimate by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a pro-foreign aid group in Washington D.C., the Republican proposal would cut the International Affairs funds which includes everything from State Department salaries to AIDS vaccines in Africa by more than 13%. While some ultra-conservative Republicans wanted the entire U.S. foreign aid budget eliminated, some more pro-foreign aid Republicans proposed to cut upto $100 billion in domestic and foreign aid programs in order to manage the out-of-control budget deficit and U.S. debts. The House Republicans are also seeking to cut at least 2,170 State Department jobs created in recent years to make up for previous job cuts.

Democrats are fearing that the proposed foreign aid cuts will cripple U.S. diplomacy especially when drug-related violence is escalating in Mexico and Central America, and China, Iran and Venezuela are becoming more influential. It can be noted that, U.S. gives out only 0.2% of its GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in foreign assistance in comparison with Sweden's 1%. Experts are concerned that this aid cut can be the first step toward reduction in U.S. influence worldwide especially when it has been estimated that Venezuela pledged more funds ($1.3 billion) for Haiti's reconstruction than the U.S. ($1.1 billion).

-Nisha Noor