The Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Blueprint: Unprecedented Cuts to U.S. Department of State

A word from Global Ties U.S. 

The Trump Administration has released its America First –  A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again, the budget recommendations for the federal government for fiscal year 2018.  The document proposes unprecedented cuts of 28 percent to the U.S. Department of State, and significant but unspecified cuts to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

#NowMoreThanEver, we need to let the White House and Congress know that these cuts would greatly harm America’s public diplomacy efforts and, ultimately, our national security and economy.

The Impact

While the Budget Blueprint aims to “reprioritize Federal spending so that it advances the safety and security of the American people,” cuts of this magnitude to State, and specifically ECA, would seriously undermine educational and cultural exchange programs that have been a critical component of U.S. national security policy since the end of World War II.

No details for ECA or IVLP are included in this document.  These will most likely be released sometime in May when the entire budget request is published.  However, the blueprint does suggest “sustaining the flagship Fulbright Program, which forges lasting connections between Americans and emerging leaders around the globe.”

We Are Not Alone

The Global Ties Network has been working hard to engage Congress early in 2017, and Global Ties U.S. continues to lead advocacy efforts in collaboration and coordination with the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) and the Alliance for International Exchange.

In these efforts, the Global Ties Network has found strong, bi-partisan congressional support for international exchange programs.  Recent press reports indicate that leaders in both the Senate and House have either rejected or voiced deep skepticism about making dramatic cuts to State’s budget.

Similarly, now Secretary of Defense General James Mattis, in a famous testimony before the Armed Services Committee when he was head of U.S. Central Command, said “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.”  According to the USGLC, he has traveled the country to make the case that the military alone cannot keep our nation safe, calling the State Department and USAID “essential” to promoting America’s interests abroad along with “preventing conflict and countering extremism.”

Next Steps

The Budget Blueprint is the current administration’s budget recommendation to Congress. Although Congress will most likely negotiate with the White House, Congress ultimately has the authority and responsibility to develop and pass a federal budget.

The 2018 budget might be resolved in the fall or early winter. Between now and then, there will be multiple critical opportunities to engage your Congressional Delegations and the White House.  We will be counting on you to take action to educate the your elected officials about the impact and importance of the IVLP and public diplomacy programs.

Global Ties U.S. will soon be putting out a call to action to resist significant cuts to ECA by advocating together with the Alliance for International Exchange, USGLC, and members of the Global Ties Network.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.


Daniel Bremer-Wirtig
Director, External Affairs
Global Ties U.S.

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