We’ll see how Trump handles this in public….
President Donald Trump has scrapped a plan to freeze more than $4 billion in foreign aid in a move that would have been another end run around Congress’ power of the purse, according to multiple sources familiar with the decision.
The president’s decision Thursday to forgo a “rescission” comes after another internal tug of war between his budget advisers and Cabinet officials. But the fiscal hawks in Trump’s corner, failing again to sell him on spending restraint, blamed Congress for souring him on the idea.
“The president has been clear that there is fat in our foreign assistance and we need to be wise about where U.S. money is going,” said a senior administration official. “Which is why he asked the administration to look into options to doing just that. It’s clear that there are those on the Hill who aren’t willing to join in curbing wasteful spending.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and several GOP lawmakers warned Trump the move would be detrimental to national security and to bipartisan negotiations ahead of another shutdown deadline.
The president’s acting budget director, Russ Vought, and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had both pushed Trump to pursue the plan.
The funding freeze would have been Trump’s first big show of fiscal restraint since signing a budget deal into law this month that increases spending limits by about $50 billion over current funding in each of the next two fiscal years. Behind the scenes, the president’s budget advisers railed against the size of that bill, even as Trump encouraged GOP lawmakers to “Go for it” in passing the measure, promising “there is always plenty of time to CUT!”
Those cuts have yet to materialize, however, and congressional leaders say any funding freezes would undermine the tenets of the bipartisan budget deal congressional leaders struck through negotiations with Mnuchin.
In a letter Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the foreign aid cuts Trump was considering would violate “the good faith” of that bipartisan deal-making.
Republicans on the Hill praised the decision to back off the cuts, deeming the fight “unwinnable,” in the words of one aide….