WASHINGTON — A House panel on Wednesday moved to cut the foreign aid budget by some 9 percent, targeting economic aid and contributions to the U.N. and World Bank.
Despite the cuts, the legislation won bipartisan backing from the Appropriations foreign aid panel, though it’s sure to draw a White House veto threat because it’s in line with a broader GOP spending plan that breaks faith with last summer’s budget and debt pact with President Barack Obama.
The panel maintains aid to Israel and Egypt at the administration’s request but denies $800 million that was requested for a special fund for training and equipping Pakistan’s military in counterinsurgency tactics.
The move appears to reflect wariness on the part of lawmakers toward the government of Pakistan, which failed to find Osama bin Laden for years.
The $800 million request for counterinsurgency efforts was an easy target, though the measure would permit transfers to make up for some or all of the shortfall.
The measure would also boost funding to help Mexico and Colombia fight drug cartels. But lawmakers denied the administration’s request for $770 million to support political and economic reforms in the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of last year’s Arab Spring anti-government uprisings.
The $48 billion measure won voice vote approval by the panel, including the committee’s senior Democrat, Norm Dicks of Washington, who’s supporting an early set of spending bills despite a blanket veto threat from the White House.