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State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Image

The State Department announced Monday afternoon that it is cutting off any further aid to Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador until the countries take "concrete actions to reduce the number of illegal migrants coming to the U.S. border."

Why it matters: The purpose of the U.S. foreign assistance targeted by Trump is to address the "root causes" of migration through governance reforms, security assistance and economic development, according to Axios Expert Voices contributor Erol Yayboke. Cutting off that aid could exacerbate conditions in the Northern Triangle and lead to even more migration.

The big picture: This move has been in the works since March, with President Trump ramping up pressure on the three Central American nations to slow the surge of migrants. The State Department will work with Congress to reprogram the hundreds of millions of dollars in aid it provides to Central America elsewhere, according to spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.

  • Roughly $400 million worth of aid already approved for projects in 2017 and 2018 in those countries will continue, per the AP.
  • Reuters notes that the plan is likely to face opposition from lawmakers in Congress who view it as cruel and likely to increase the flow of migrants from Central America.

Go deeper

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

58 mins ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.