OMB: Time to Stop Funding Bob Dylan Statues in Mozambique or NASA Space Camps in Pakistan

By Susan Jones | February 11, 2020 | 6:36am EST
(Photo by Alex Wong/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Wong/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Foreign aid will be cut by 21 percent in President Trump's Fiscal Year 2021 budget, released Monday by the White House Office of Management and Budget:

Acting OMB Director Russ Vought said the Trump administration disagrees with those who say the money spent on diplomacy prevents more-expensive conflicts from erupting in different countries:

"The President disagrees with the idea that we should continue to have such robust levels of funding in the foreign aid category," Vought explained:

We're still going to be spending about $40 billion in foreign aid, so it's a -- still it's a substantial amount. We're still going to be at a very high level compared to the rest of world, in terms of what we provide.

Humanitarian assistance is still, under this budget, with carry-over funding, going to be the second highest that the U.S. has ever provided to the world. So there is substantial amount of foreign aid, even at the 21 percent cut within the program.

But look, we believe that, at the end of the day, it's time to rethink how we do foreign aid in this country. That we need to move beyond the reality of spending money for the Bob Dylan statue in Mozambique or the NASA space camp in Pakistan or the professional cricket league in Afghanistan.

We have to begin to make choices when we have the level of deficits right now that we're experiencing.

Asked which budget items "really excited" President Trump, Vought point to "nuclear modernization."

"He believes the nuclear modernization is a major thing that is important in this budget. It is something he continues to want to stress," Vought said.

Vought shot down a reporter's suggestion that boosting the money spent on nuclear weapons could lead to an arms race:

"No, no, no, no," Vought said. "The President is very concerned about making sure our nuclear arsenal is modernized. We do this, as a country -- it seems like every 30 years or so there is a major modernization effort. This president believes it's vital to keep the stockpile up to date, and that that's an effective deterrent to the rest of the world."

President Trump's budget, which won't go anywhere in the Democrat-led House, was designed for the "security and prosperity of the American people," Vought said:

Let me give you a few examples. $741 billion is provided for the defense of this country. This amount is coming after budgets of $700 billion, $716 billion, $738 billion in prior years. Modernization of our nuclear weapons stockpile itself will receive a nearly 20 percent increase from last fiscal year.

At the same time, this budget also reflects, at a high level, an assumption that our overseas operations will require less funding as the President works to end endless wars.

The budget also makes substantial investments in border security and immigration enforcement. It ensures that every high school has a high-quality career and technical education program; funds NASA's return to the Moon by '24, as a platform for Mars thereafter; grows VA medical care by 13 percent to fully fund the MISSION act; includes substantial resources for the fight against opioids; and proposes a $1 trillion infrastructure package to rebuild our roads and bridges.

This budget will keep our communities safe and secure. It will also...keep the promises that President Trump has made to the American people to protect Social Security and Medicare for seniors. This president is a "Promises Made, Promises Kept" kind of President, and this budget is no different.

Vought said contrary to what Democrats are claiming, under Trump's FY 2021 budget, Medicare will grow every year by 6 percent and Medicaid will grow by 3 percent.

"There is nothing that touches Social Security or Medicare beneficiaries in these budgets," Vought said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rejected the budget out of hand via Twitter:


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