To the editor:
(re: “Impeachment could take long time, Engel staffer warns,” Oct. 24)
Trump’s Ukrainian funding delay is the latest of numerous instances of putting his own personal interests above Congress-approved foreign aid.
Earlier this year, the president put a freeze on aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to pressure them into agreements to send migrants to seek asylum in those countries before the United States.
Now, according to U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, President Trump has shown so little regard for the Constitution’s emoluments clause that our congressional staffs feel compelled to educate foreign leaders about it themselves.
Apparently, the situation has come to the point at which foreign dignitaries need to be reminded that they “can’t buy stuff from Trump.”
The issue should be clear: Foreign security assistance consists of taxpayer dollars that only Congress has the authority to appropriate.
It is not the president’s personal funds, nor is it a bargaining tool or a means to an end. The president should not be allowed to give or withhold foreign aid as he sees fit, which appears to be whenever he wants something from another country.
Since President Trump has repeatedly tried to cut billions from the international affairs budget, foreign aid funding is obviously not one of his priorities.
But it should be. One-in-five U.S. jobs is export-based, and more than half of U.S. exports go to developing nations.
Foreign assistance creates jobs for American workers, and it further boosts the economy by creating new markets abroad as people are lifted out of poverty into the middle class.
Cutting foreign aid threatens U.S. diplomatic relations and adds instability across the globe.
I urge Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to support the international affairs budget in Fiscal 2020, and to fight back against senseless cuts to foreign aid.