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United States: Cuts to Democracy Funds Reduce U.S. Security
In response to the release of the Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The Administration’s proposed cuts to democracy assistance would have harmful effects on democracy and security around the globe,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “The administration’s National Security Strategy, released in December, rightly highlights that failing states can destabilize entire regions. Democracy programming is the United States’ best tool for strengthening its own security and economy by helping build vibrant, stable partners. Democracy programs, which make up only 0.05 percent of the federal budget, are cost-effective investments toward the administration’s goal of promoting peace and prosperity.”
President Trump’s FY19 budget request proposes to cut funding for democracy programs by nearly 40 percent, to $1.4 billion from $2.3 billion appropriated by Congress in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. The request proposes a 60 percent cut to the National Endowment of Democracy, to $67.2 million from the $170 million allocated by Congress in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. It also proposes to consolidate accounts specifically focused on democracy and human rights into accounts focused instead on security, economic opportunity, and law enforcement.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.