Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna has termed as “dumb” some of the budget proposals of US President Donald Trump and described the move to cut foreign aid as “inhumane”. Khanna, the first-time Democratic lawmaker elected to the House of Representatives from a Congressional District in California, hoped that the ruling Republican party, which has majority in both the House and the Senate, would work against passage of the budgetary proposals of Trump. “I am really concerned about the community block grants, the USD three billion cut. It is shocking to me given someone campaigned on America first, building American cities.
Here USD three billion that goes to building American cities, transportation, infrastructure, job training. “I cannot think of a more dumb proposal than, frankly, than cutting that (foreign aid). Hopefully the Republicans will push back on that,” he told TYT Politics news YouTube channel yesterday. Khanna said he is concerned that the Republicans may not push back on foreign aid, given that the White House has proposed a massive budgetary cut in it. “Gorge Bush, I disagreed with about everything Bush/Cheney did. The one thing he did that we should all give him credit for is he helped save people in Africa with HIV. We put billions of dollars in foreign aid to help people with the antiviral drugs and we are going to cut that. That is so inhumane. So I think defending the foreign aid budget, which is less than one per cent, which is going to humanitarian causes,” Khanna said.
“One of the things that annoyed me so much about Trump’s speech was when he said, ‘Well, it is America’s national interest and America first, and all nations follow their self-interest’. I thought the whole idea about American exceptionalism is we are not all nations. Yeah, other nations just follow their national interest, we care about morality. We care about humanity. That is what makes America exceptional, so we should care about the moral case, about what we are going to do for other countries,” he said. He alleged that the Republicans want to dismantle the New Deal Coalition.
“You talk to members of Congress and they do not agree with everything he says, even Republicans. They are as embarrassed. But why do they give him such a pass? Why are not they speaking out? It is because he is helping achieve their vision, which is the dismantling of the administrative state. The dismantling of the New Deal in a way that even Ronald Reagan did and so they are saying, ‘Okay, we are going to make the bargain with the devil’. He is giving us what we want. Let us ignore everything else,” he said.
Commenting on the Democratic party’s defeat, he said the party leadership have to come out with an economic platform that would appeal to people in states like Michigan, Ohio, Arkansas, Kentucky and places that they lost. He said globalisation has eviscerated in part the middle class, and the money has gone to corporate interest. “The money has gone to CEOs. They feel that their wages have stagnated since 1979 to today for most middle-class families. The cost of healthcare has gone up. The cost of education has gone up. Why would not you be upset? Why would not you be angry? They do not see the Democratic Party having done anything for them,” he said. Khanna said there is a stagnation of ideas in the Democratic party and there is need for a new vision. Responding to a question, Khanna said American democracy is extraordinary.
“I think that American democracy is still extraordinary. My own story: I am of Hindu faith, parents immigrated, was born in Philadelphia, I am 40 years old, I represent a district which is the most economically successful district in the world with Apple and Google,” he said. “There is an openness to the American political system that is extraordinary for all its flaws. That is what I hope people will understand that they do not feel disenfranchised. If the Democratic Party is the vehicle, great. If that is not the vehicle, go protest, go run as a third-party, but be engaged,” Khanna added.