Bill Gates Praises GOP-Led Congress, Says World ‘Far Better Place’ Than Ever Before
WASHINGTON – Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates praised the Republican-led Congress for rejecting the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the State Department budget.
Gates pointed out that the foreign aid budget nearly doubled during President George W. Bush’s tenure, when Bush created the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief to extend life-saving HIV treatment to hard-hit nations in Africa.
“In terms of the present situation, it is a little concerning that for the first time the executive branch recommended pretty dramatic cuts in the State Department budget, including the foreign aid portions of that budget including things like PEPFAR,” Gates said Wednesday at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. “Fortunately, the budget, Congress has the final word so those rather drastic cuts that were in the administration’s first budget did not become law.”
Republicans such as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) opposed the foreign aids cuts the White House had proposed.
“We’re cutting the State Department’s budget by 29 percent and, over my dead body, that ain’t happening,” Graham said in April 2017. “To those that want to get out of the foreign assistance business, who want to take soft power off the table, Gen. Mattis said it better than I could have ever hoped to say it, when – he’s a four-star Marine general – he said if you cut the State Department’s budget, you better buy me more ammo.”
In June of last year, Corker said Trump proposed the State Department and USAID budget cuts because he was unwilling to take on entitlement reform.
"This president took an inordinate amount of cuts in this particular area to demonstrate that he was trying to address fiscal issues because, in fairness, [he's] unwilling to address all the other issues that are driving spending so much," Corker said.