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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Trump’s New 2020 Budget: Spending on The Wall, Israel, Jordan and Persecuted Minorities


Meriam H. Helal

Mon, 11 Mar 2019 22:14 GMT

The Trump administration unveiled the 2020 US federal budget for the fiscal year beginning in October. The White house sent a $4.7 trillion government spending plan for 2020 to the congress that includes another $8.6 billion to build a wall on the US-Mexican border to thwart illegal immigration.

Trump's request for border wall funding presages a new fight with lawmakers over the issue in the coming months during the third year of the Trump presidency. Several opposition Democratic lawmakers immediately vowed to block wall funding.

Trump's new request for wall funding comes just weeks after he ended a record 35-day partial government shutdown, a dispute that centred on his request for $5.7 billion for wall construction money. When lawmakers refused, he declared a national emergency. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement, on Sunday March 10th, they hoped the president had "learned his lesson" from the shutdown.

 Lawmakers must reach a spending deal before September 30th, the end of the current fiscal year, to avoid automatic spending cuts.

The budget the White House submitted would increase overall defence spending to $750 billion, up from $716 billion, while cutting other programmes by $2.7 trillion over 10 years; well beyond Trump’s time in office, even if he is reelected. The budget also proposed increasing defence spending by boosting a Pentagon war fund, known as Overseas Contingency Operations - or OCO.

The 2020 budget request proposes $40 billion for the State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said in a statement, “President Trump requested $40 billion for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) budget. This request upholds the President’s commitment to protect our country and put American interests first”.

Under the title, “Providing Critical Support to Our Allies in the Middle East” the budget is supporting the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the US and Israel by providing $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing for Israel.

The budget request recognises the critical US strategic partnership with and support for Jordan by providing $1.3 billion in economic and security assistance, consistent with our most recent MOU with Jordan.

 Under the title “Prioritizing Programs that Counter Critical National Security Threats” the budget suggests $707 million to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, reinforce counterterrorism efforts, and support demining and other weapons destruction. This includes preventing North Korea, Iran, and other states and terrorist actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

It also provides $150 million to support persecuted religious and ethnic minorities, recovering from the devastation caused by Isis, al Qa’ida, and other terrorist organisations in the Middle East and other regions.

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