U.S. President Donald Trump welcomed Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to the White House on Thursday, May 18, to discuss strengthening bilateral relations, including efforts to combat illegal narcotics. Entering the final year of his presidency with strong political headwinds, President Santos brought attention to this growing partnership, including in trade, saying during their joint press conference, “The number of Colombian businesses that are exporting to the United States has grown. And we both believe that we can take greater advantage of those agreements in order to increase flows in both directions for the benefit both of the Colombian and American peoples.”
President Santos’ visit came just days before President Trump unveiled his Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget request calling for significant cuts to funding for the U.S. Department of State and other international agencies. The budget proposal called for $250 million in support for Colombia, a marked cut as compared to the $450 million President Obama pledged to help support Colombia’s efforts to implement the government’s peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (“FARC”).
However, as the adage goes, “the President proposes, and Congress disposes.” While the President’s budget provides detailed information on his policy priorities, Congress is responsible for passing appropriations bills to fund government programs.