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Key Republicans In Congress Cool To Trump's Proposed Cuts In Foreign Aid

Senator Lindsey Graham's subcommittee oversees spending on diplomacy and foreign aid

U.S. President Donald Trump's proposal to slash spending on foreign aid got a cool reception from key Republicans in Congress on May 23.

"This budget is not going to go anywhere," said Senator Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees spending on diplomacy and foreign aid.

"If we implemented this budget, you'd have to retreat from the world or put a lot of people at risk," Graham said.

In all, Trump proposed cuts about 32 percent from U.S. diplomacy and aid budgets, or nearly $19 billion, in fiscal 2018, targeting particularly big cuts in global health programs and international organizations other than NATO.

U.S. funding for international peacekeeping would fall to about $1.5 billion, a cut of over 50 percent from 2017 levels.

"Given the growing threats we face, we should be supporting – not slashing – anti-terrorism, law enforcement, and humanitarian programs," said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward Royce.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Trump for proposing a budget that eventually balances, but the Senate's second-ranking Republican, John Cornyn, called it "basically dead on arrival."

Even Trump's own ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, suggested that the proposed cuts would not pass Congress.

"It's starting the conversation," Haley said. "It doesn't mean that's where it will end up. He's going to have that conversation with Congress on where we should fall on this."

Since Congress controls spending under the U.S. Constitution, the objections from top lawmakers make it unlikely the deep cuts will be passed.

With reporting by AP and Reuters