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House Bill Would Decimate World Bank Funding

The House is pushing a bill that would slash World Bank funding by almost half — a far deeper cut to the international finance organization than even President Donald Trump’s budget proposed.

On July 12, the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee released its State and Foreign Operations bill, representing its vision for the 2018 fiscal year budget for the State Department, security responses, and humanitarian missions. The World Bank would receive $541 million less than what the president requested, according to a draft copy of a report on the bill reviewed by Foreign Policy.

The bulk of the cut comes from the International Development Association (IDA), one of the five agencies together referred to as the World Bank Group. The IDA received just under $1.2 billion in 2017, but the House budget bill would dramatically slash its funding to less than $659 million for 2018.

The president’s budget request proposed only a modest cut to the IDA, putting it at $1.1 billion for 2018.

The IDA provides low-interest loans to 77 of the world’s poorest countries, including 39 in Africa. Some of the countries depend on IDA funding to provide basic social programs, according to the IDA website.

“Given the budget caps, difficult choices had to be made,” said an appropriations committee aide, who asked not to be named. “The bill prioritizes embassy security, security assistance, and humanitarian, global health, democracy, and other development programs.”

The proposed budget also eliminates funding for the Global Environment Facility, another World Bank-funded organization, despite Trump’s request of $102 million. It zeroes out funding for the global agriculture and food security program, which received $23 million in 2017, and cuts almost $6 million from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, reducing it to zero as well.

Altogether, the cuts reduce the World Bank’s funding from almost $1.4 billion in 2017 to just under $659…

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