Warner, Kaine join colleagues in warning against slashing funding to Northern Triangle countries
U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tom Carper (D-DE), and 30 other Senators in condemning the President’s plan to cut national security funding to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
In a letter to President Trump, the Senators reiterated that the U.S. Congress has already appropriated FY18 funds to advance the United States’ foreign policy priorities related to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
“Your shortsighted decision poses serious risks to our national security and will damage strategic U.S. efforts to address the underlying conditions driving citizens in all three countries to flee their homelands and migrate to the United States,” wrote the Senators. “Since taking office, you have consistently expressed a flawed understanding of U.S. foreign assistance. It is neither charity, nor is it a gift to foreign governments. Our national security funding is specifically designed to promote American interests, enhance our collective security, and protect the safety of our citizens.”
Citing cabinet officials who have recently called for a rational response to the growing number of migrants fleeing violent conditions in Central America, the Senators urged the President to reverse his decision cutting funding to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
The Senators continued, “Our foreign assistance programs provide our government essential leverage to support reforms in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that mitigate the root causes of migration to our southern border by enabling citizens from those countries to find security and economic opportunities in their communities. By obstructing the use of FY2018 national security funding and seeking to terminate similar funding from FY2017, you are personally undermining efforts to promote U.S. national security and economic prosperity.”
The Senators also noted that the Trump Administration’s decision undermines years of continuous bipartisan and bicameral congressional efforts to increase the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance to Central America. This assistance helps ensure consequential change and address root causes of irregular migration to the United States and Virginia, such as extreme poverty and lack of economic opportunity, which lead to unchecked violence and crime.
In addition to Sens. Warner, Kaine, Menendez, and Carper, the letter was signed by Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ed Markey (D-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tom Udall (D-NM), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Tina Smith (D-MN).
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