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Tillerson: 28 Percent Cuts in State Dept. Spending will be Recovered by ‘Private Sector’

Rex Tillerson

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said Tuesday that the private sector will make up for the 28 percent reduction in U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid spending that President Trump’s budget calls for.

“Even with reductions in funding, we will continue to be the leader in international development, global health, democracy and good governance initiatives, and humanitarian efforts,” Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday.

Tillerson told lawmakers that the administration plans to “ask other donors and private sector partners to increase their support” to recover for cuts being made in State Department and to USAID initiatives, The Washington Times reports.

While the Trump administration plans to increase the Pentagon’s budget by about 10 percent, that boost comes along with significant cuts at the State Department.

“With such a broad array of threats facing the United States, the FY 2018 budget request of $37.6 billion dollars aligns with the administration’s objective of making America’s security our top priority,” said Tillerson. “The first responsibility of government is the security of its own citizens, and we will orient our diplomatic efforts toward fulfilling that commitment.”

 “Despite necessary reductions from FY 2017 levels, we are still devoting $25.3 billion to foreign assistance, which accounts for over two-thirds of the State and USAID budget,” he said at his first major budget hearing since he was nominated in February.

Tillerson noted that this includes $7.1. billion in security assistance programs, and $5.6 billion for other measures including diplomatic engagement and the efforts to defeat terrorism. He added that the funding for diplomatic security operations is approximately 11 percent above 2016 levels.

 

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