White House backs off plan to cut foreign aid: source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House will not move forward with a plan to cut billions of dollars from congressionally approved foreign aid budget, a source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

It was not clear why the White House changed course.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he was considering scaling back an effort that could have cut billions of dollars in foreign aid and would decide on the proposal – which faces strong opposition in Congress – within days.

Members of Congress, including some of Trump’s fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, have been pushing back against repeated Trump administration efforts to cut the amount of money Washington spends on foreign aid.

Trump administration officials have said they are reviewing State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development spending with an eye to using a budget process known as “rescission” to slash up to $4.3 billion in spending that had already been approved by the Senate and House of Representatives.

Trump told reporters on Tuesday that said “certain things” could be cut, but others might not be. “But we are looking at it and we have some things that are on the table very much. We’ll let you know over the next probably sooner than a week,” he said.

Reporting by Steve Hollland and Patricia Zengerle; writing by Doina Chiacu; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Nick Zieminski

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