US lawmakers oppose 92 per cent cut in American aid to the island nation

Vastavam web: Citing the geographical and strategic location of Sri Lanka, a Senate committee has opposed Trump Administration’s proposal of a drastic 92 per cent cut in American aid to the island nation.”Given the geostrategic importance of the country, the Committee does not support the President’s budget request for Sri Lanka, which proposed a 92 per cent reduction in assistance from the prior fiscal year,” the Senate Appropriations Committee said in a report passing the annual State appropriations bill for the fiscal year 2018, beginning October 1.”The Committee recognises and supports the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to advance democracy and the rule of law, and encourages further steps to address the underlying causes of the armed conflict by promoting justice and reconciliation,” the Senate Committee said in its report.
The Senate committee on its report said that Sri Lanka is strategically positioned along key shipping lanes and emerging from decades of conflict.”In Sri Lanka, US foreign assistance will be cut by 92 per cent, mostly from accounts that have supported programs to promote the rule of law, democratic reforms, post-Civil War reconciliation and related efforts,” rued Congressman Ted Yoho, Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Sub Committee on Asia and the Pacific.”These programs are cost-effective ways to contribute to Sri Lanka’s transformation while pursuing a partnership and strategic lead critical locations,” he said.
“While we’re forming a large Millennium Challenge Corporation compact was Sri Lanka, the MCC will focus on economic activities. I’m concerned that by changing course so drastically, we want to make sure that we’re not throwing away the investments we’ve already made in Sri Lanka, leaving a gap in the democracy and governance programs Sri Lanka badly needs, and potentially forcing the closure of our USAID mission,” said the US lawmaker.For the fiscal year 2018, the Trump Administration has requested USD 3.4 million in foreign assistance for Sri Lanka.Additionally, the MCC is developing a compact with Sri Lanka after it successfully passed the MCC policy scorecard in 2016.