CGD in the News

Reality Check: How Can A US President Cut Off Foreign Aid? (BBC)

January 5, 2018
Share
From the article:
 
The Trump administration has announced that it is cutting aid to Pakistan, days after the president threatened on Twitter to do so.
 
He's also made similar threats towards the Palestinians, as well as towards countries that backed a United Nations resolution opposing the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
 
So what are the ways in which a US administration can cut off foreign aid?
 
The answer is complicated, and depends on the type of aid, as well as the specific country or group receiving it.
 
So it would be almost impossible for the president to cut off aid from all 128 countries that voted for the UN resolution in one fell swoop...
 
It is the US Congress, not the president, that has the final say on the foreign aid budget.
 
Because all spending has to be signed off by Congress, it "holds the power of the purse strings", says Erin Collinson from the Center for Global Development, a non-partisan think tank based in Washington and London.
 
Congress can approve or alter the administration's budgetary proposals and can also specify in substantial detail where it wants the aid to go - even if that's in opposition to what the president wants.
 

CGD Experts