Tillerson won’t condemn Trump’s slashing cuts to his agency budget – saying State is coming off historically high spending that is ‘simply not sustainable’

Thursday, March 16, 2017
By Paul Martin

Secretary of State Tillerson got asked about the Trump administration budget by 29 per cent
Funding would drop from 38 per cent to 27.1 per cent – making it the biggest loser other than the EPA
Tillerson said in Japan funding was coming off ‘historically high’ levels driven by the ‘level of conflicts’ the U.S. is engaged in
He said the current level is ‘simply not sustainable’
‘I take the challenge that the president has given us’
When Housing secretary Ben Carson was confronted with looming cuts, he reassured staff that ‘starting numbers are rarely final numbers’

By Geoff Earle, Deputy U.S. Political Editor
16 March 2017

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated while traveling in Japan that he is willing to swallow the massive budget cuts that President Trump’s first budget is imposing on his agency, saying he accepts the challenge ‘willingly.’

Tillerson, the former Exxon CEO who has dined frequently with Trump during his early tenure, did not push back publicly after it was revealed State would absorb a 29 per cent cut – more than any agency except the Environmental Protection Agency, which is despised by some conservatives.

Asked about the cuts, which run from U.S. contributions to UN peacekeeping to direct aid programs to some of the world’s poorest nations, Tillerson said the agency’s budget had grown to large due to overseas conflicts.

‘The level of spending that the State Department has been undertaking, particularly in the past year, is simply not sustainable,” Tillerson said.

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