US aid cuts spare allies Egypt and Israel, as Trump looks to finance Mexico wall

US aid cuts spare allies Egypt and Israel, as Trump looks to finance Mexico wall
Congressional panels unveil sweeping spending cuts that have sent Democrats into protest, but still fall far short of President Trump's initial plans.
2 min read
13 July, 2017
Democrats strongly oppose Trump's plans to build a Mexico border wall [AFP]

US allies Israel and Egypt will not be affected by $10 billion cut in foreign aid, legislation unveiled on Wednesday showed.

The cuts - which come as President Donald Trump's administration is preparing to pay for the proposed Mexico "border wall" - are not as deep and far reaching as the president had hoped with Donald Trump hoping to slash $17 billion from foreign aid.

Congressional panels in the House and Senate released various spending bills to fund government agencies and departments in 2018.

The Republican-led panels concurred with some of the president's requests, including his down payment on a US-Mexico border wall, while rejecting others such as a significant reduction in medical research.

A total of $1.6 billion was approved as the down payment for the long-promised wall along the US-Mexico border, including funding for three segments of wall and fence in Texas and the city of San Diego.

As well as looking to allocate funding to his Mexico wall, President Trump is also looking to fund an additional 1,000 border agents.

Democrats strongly oppose both proposals and argue that more funding is needed for foreign aid aind domestic programmes.

"It is targeting people who have lived, work, and pay taxes in this country for years or even decades with no criminal infractions," said California Democratic Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. "The trauma that is being inflicted on entire communities throughout our country cannot be overstated."

On Wednesday, the House also slashed US payments to the United Nations by $600 million and aid to poor and unstable nations was cut by $4.2 billion.

Democrats protested a $528 million cut to the Environmental Protection Agency's $8 billion budget, which was markedly smaller than Trump's own proposal of $1.9 billiion or more.

Plans for floor votes have not been set by House leaders, who often encounter difficulties in passing most of the non-defence spending bills without Democratic help.

Senate action is even further behind schedule and the principal item of business in September will be to pass a stop-gap spending measure to prevent a government shutdown.