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 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 Congress to forcefully push back again this year on another dismal budget request.