Trump’s budget plan could hurt OPB, Mercy Corps

Trumps proposal would cut 40% of funding for foreign aid

The outside of the Oregon Public Broadcasting headquarters in Portland. (KOIN)
The outside of the Oregon Public Broadcasting headquarters in Portland. (KOIN)


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Outside of defense spending and the border wall, President Donald Trump’s budget proposal calls for some major spending cuts.

One organization that could suffer is Portland-based Mercy Corps, which provides humanitarian aid and development around the world. About half of their funding comes from the federal government, but that could fall as Trump has proposed a 40% cut to foreign aid.

“If we don’t get at the drivers of those problems, you’re just going to be in a perpetual loop of responding to one humanitarian crisis after another,” said Andrea Koppel, Mercy Corp’s Vice President of Global Engagement.

Koppel spoke to KOIN from Washington D.C. Thursday, where Mercy Corps is calling on Congress to fight the proposed cuts.

“President Trump’s budget, if it stands as is, would be reckless, dangerous and irresponsible,” Koppel said.

Morgan Holm, the Senior VP and Chief Content Office for OPB, March 16, 2017 (KOIN)
Morgan Holm, the Senior VP and Chief Content Office for OPB, March 16, 2017 (KOIN)

Oregon Public Broadcasting is also in on the fight against funding cuts. It would face a 9% cut if the proposed budget stands.

“It may not be a huge amount of money, but it’s integrated in so many places that it really is a critical part of our budget,” Senior VP and Chief Content Office for OPB, Morgan Holm said.

Trump’s proposal would eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps OPB broadcast across the state. It also funds national programs.

But OPB isn’t panicking, they’ve seen this treat before.

“During the George W. Bush administration, the President proposed zeroing out CPB just about every year, and yet congress still came through and funded CPB,” Holm said.

As it is, Trump’s budget proposal is just a blueprint and still needs approval from Congress.

KOIN also reached out the Meals on Wheels People, which serves the metro area, and unlike many Meals on Wheels groups in the nation, they do not get grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, so they won’t see any cuts to their funding related to Trump’s budget.