The proposal by US President Donald Trump's administration to cut down aid for programs in the Africa continent has been met with opposition.
Two officials from the State Department were were put to task members of the US Congress rejected the plans by Trump's government.
It was even a blow to Trump's attempts after the Republican chairman of a US House subcommittee on Africa threw his weight behind his Democratic colleagues in rejecting the plan cut food aid and to abolish other programs benefiting sub-Saharan nations, including Kenya.
Appearing before lawmakers, Donald Yamamoto, who is the acting assistant secretary of state for Africa, and Cheryl L. Anderson, an acting administrator for Africa at the US Agency for International Development, told a subcommittee hearing that the austere Trump budget was a product of “trade-offs” and “tough choices.”
“I know you have to support this budget, and it must be very painful because it's just filled with contradictions,” Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass told Mr Yamamoto and Ms Anderson.
“This budget does not reflect your illustrious careers, and I'm sorry you have to be put in a position to defend it,” Ms Bass added.
The California congresswoman was even more dismayed by Trump's plan to abolish all funding facilitating family-planning initiatives in Africa. She argued that such a move would see an increase in abortions, noting that the Trump team was strongly opposed to abortion.
“What's the reason for that?” Ms Bass asked the officials in regard to the proposed elimination of family planning funding. “What's the logic?”
“Policy decision,” Ms Anderson of USAid replied.
Yamamoto and Ms Anderson defended President Trump's Africa-related budget trimming terming them as efforts to enhance the cost-effectiveness of programmes by US in the continent.
Congresswoman Bass, however, noted that “the budget is cutting peacekeeping and development, so to me that's a direct contradiction.”
The Republican chair of the Africa subcommittee, Congressman Chris Smith vowed the Congress would not allow White House's attempts to reduce aid for nutrition and agriculture programs such as the Obama administration's Feed the Future programme.
Yamamoto pointed out that funds for Feed the Future would and Obama's Power Africa plan and the Young African Leaders Initiative (Yali) programs would continue to be trimmed under Trump.
Yamamoto revealed that Yali has become so popular that administrators got about 74,000 applications for 740 available fellowships, describing it as “a very good programme.”
But Yali would be cut under Mr Trump's budget proposals, Congresswoman Bass pointed out.
“Fifty percent,” Yamamoto replied.
Democratic Congressman Amerish Babulal Bera questioned the 'America First' policy that informs Trump's budget making.
“The policies the president is putting forward will make us weaker and do not reflect our values,” Congressman Bera declared.
Democratic congressman, Joaquin Castro of Texas, cautioned that a reduced US presence in Africa would diminish US influence and open chances for rival powers.
With the Trump budget proposals, Mr Castro said, “we're ceding a lot of ground to other countries, such as China.”