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House Slashes Foreign Aid, JFK Angry

Aug. 23, 1963 - The U.S. House of Representatives today slashed $585 million from the foreign aid authorization recommended by its Foreign Affairs Committee. President Kennedy promptly condemned the action. The House vote gave the Administration its worst defeat of the legislative session. The effect of the Republican-sponsored cut was to put a ceiling of roughly $3.5 billion on the program for the fiscal year ending next June 30. This is $1 billion less than President Kennedy’s revised asking figure. Three hours after the vote, President Kennedy stood before television cameras and nationwide radio network microphones to condemn the action. The President denounced the vote as “shortsighted, irresponsible, and dangerously partisan.” He assailed the Republican leadership for what he called a “shocking and thoughtless partisan attack” on a program long supported by both political parties as vital to the nation’s security. Mr. Kennedy recalled that, during his eight years in the Senate, he consistently supported the foreign aid requests of former President Eisenhower. Secretary of State Dean Rusk later charged that the vote “slices into the very muscle of our foreign policy” and that the cut in funds will “impair our national security.”


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