US President Barack Obama presented his 2017 budget proposal, including an annual aid package for Colombia’s pending peace process, to the Republican-dominated US Congress on Tuesday.
The $450 million Obama wants to spend on peace building in Colombia is only a fraction of the $4.1 trillion budget proposal.
White House wants to increase spending in Colombia with 50% in an effort to support peace if the South American Country’s government and FARC rebels are able to sign peace and a years-long peace process kicks off.
But having the national budget — and the funds for Colombia — approved will prove difficult.
Political divisions in Washington have widened to the extent that the Republican Party, which controls both the House of Representatives and the Senate, last week said they refused to formally receive the proposal as is custom, according to NBC News.
“Rather than spend time on a proposal that, if anything like this administration’s previous budgets, will double down on the same failed policies that have led to the worst economic recovery in modern times, Congress should continue our work on building a budget that balances and that will foster a healthy economy,” House Budget Chairman Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) was quoted as saying by the broadcast network’s newsroom.
“Instead of hearing from an administration unconcerned with our $19 trillion in debt, we should focus on how to reform America’s broken budget process and restore the trust of hardworking taxpayers,” said Price’s counterpart in the Senate, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WYO).
The major rift between the White House and Congress, upcoming presidential elections, and a heated, ongoing debate on the US government’s $19 trillion debt is likely to keep the $450 million Colombia proposal from becoming a major issue in itself.
However, with the Republicans urging severe government spending cuts, an increase in aid to Colombia faces a far from certain future approval.