White House wants to cut exchanges budget, Congress won’t let it


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The White House proposes cutting the budget for exchange programs
The White House proposes cutting the budget for exchange programs
Image courtesy of Pexels

This year’s presidential budget request for exchange programs is better than last year, but still a long way from good.

The Trump administration’s FY 2020 budget request, released earlier this week, proposes cutting U.S. Department of State educational and cultural exchange programs by a whopping 56%, from $700.9 million to $309.6 million.

But compare this to the Administration’s budget request last year, which asked for a 75% cut! Comparatively, this year is better – but the bar is low.

What’s key, though, is to understand how Congress reacted to last year’s terribly low request. Instead of agreeing to such a cut, Congress actually increased the State Department exchanges budget by ~10%, to the current level of $700.9 million. Even though InterExchange doesn’t receive federal funding for our programs, we love to see this kind of tangible indication of Congress’ strong support of exchange programs.

And we can expect to see Congress forcefully push back again this year on another dismal budget request.

For more, check out our article on how the U.S. federal budget process works, from initial request to final approval.

Mark Overmann Mark Overmann

After studying in France and teaching in China, Mark was hooked on cultural exchange. He's worked in the field of international education and exchange for 15 years, and is InterExchange's Vice President of External Affairs.

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