WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding reports that the Trump Administration aims to cut the State Department budget by 30 percent for Fiscal Year 2018:
“If reports are accurate, the Trump Administration has put American foreign policy on a short-sighted and dangerous course. America's armed forces are the finest and strongest in the world, but this White House's apparent belief that to further strengthen our military we should gut American diplomacy betrays a deep lack of understanding about the complexities of foreign affairs.
“Diplomacy keeps us safe by preventing conflict, defusing crises, and building bridges of friendship and cooperation. Development keeps us safe by helping enhance stability and showing the world America's best face. If we undermine these efforts, we make it more likely that somewhere down the road, a fire will burn out of control. And because we’ve failed to put it out or prevent it from starting in the first place, we’re faced with the choice of sending our sons and daughters into harm's way. As Secretary of Defense Mattis said in 2013 when he was CENTCOM commander, ‘If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.’ This is simply unacceptable.
“Make no mistake: if the Administration gets its way now, we will pay for it down the line many times over in American blood and treasure. And while we’re withdrawing into this defensive crouch, we cede America's leadership role on the global stage.
“I urge President Trump to rethink his budget proposal before sending it to Congress. Regardless, Congress can prevent this catastrophe. I will fight tooth and nail any effort to eviscerate our foreign policy apparatus. And I hope my Republican colleagues see the folly of the Administration's agenda and will put country before party to ensure America's security and leadership in the world.”