Deutsche Welle: CBYX cuts spark bipartisan criticism and transatlantic coalition

Funding cuts to the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX), a bilateral exchange program supported jointly by the U.S. and Germany, are facing bipartisan criticism from members of Congress, as well as from the German government. In addition to opposition from CBYX program alumni, the cuts have “spawned an unusual coalition in Washington that is working hard to reverse the partial defunding of the program,” Deutsche Welle reports.

CBYX currently provides exchange opportunities for around 700 German and American high school students and young professionals annually, and has existed for more than 30 years. The U.S. State Department decided to cut 50 per cent of its funding for the program ($2 million) in 2015-16 and will instead redirect those funds “to meet other high priority exchanges,” according to Secretary of State John Kerry (as the Alliance previously reported). The German Bundestag has stepped in to fill the funding gap for the current cycle; however, this is only a temporary solution, Deutsche Welle notes.

The funding cuts have fostered bipartisan and transatlantic opposition, and have sparked “a unique transatlantic coalition” to restore U.S. funding, according to Deutsche Welle. Among those opposing the cuts are Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), both members of the German-American Caucus in the House. The German government and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have also voiced their concern over the U.S.’ decision. CBYX alumni have also launched a “Save CBYX” campaign, including a petition that has garnered more than 18,500 signatures.