Kerry says cuts would hit foreign aid, diplomatic security
February 14th, 2013
06:32 PM ET

Kerry says cuts would hit foreign aid, diplomatic security

By Jamie Crawford

State Department spending would drop by more than $2 billion this year under mandatory, government-wide budget cuts due to take effect in March.

Secretary of State John Kerry detailed the cuts, known formally as sequestration, in a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, saying they would have far-reaching consequences.

"Our ability to influence and shape world events, protect U.S. interests, increase job-creating opportunities for American businesses, prevent conflict, protect our citizens overseas, and defeat terrorism before it reaches our shores depends on day-to-day diplomatic engagement and increased prosperity worldwide," Kerry said.

He also said the cuts would "severely impair" efforts to "enhance security" of government facilities overseas and "ensure the safety of the thousands of U.S. diplomats serving the American people abroad."

Diplomatic security has been scrutinized since the deadly terror attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, last September and Kerry has vowed to make it a top priority.

The series of automatic spending cuts, part of a 2011 debt ceiling deal between the White House and Congress, will kick in on March 1, absent a deal to avert or defer them.

The budget cuts overall aim to save nearly $1 trillion over 10 years. Half would come from defense.

Sequestration would cut State Department operations by approximately $850 million this fiscal year, while foreign assistance programs would be cut by approximately $1.7 billion, according to a fact sheet attached to Kerry's letter.

Kerry said about $200 million would be cut from humanitarian assistance accounts at a time when the United States is engaged in major relief efforts around the civil war in Syria and multiple crises in Africa.

Similarly, $500 million would be cut from security assistance accounts that are used for conflict prevention programs around the world.

More than $300 million in cuts to the Foreign Military Financing account would likely affect aid to Israel, Jordan and Egypt, while also cutting contributions to international peacekeeping operations.

In addition, the cuts would "constrain our ability to assist U.S. citizens overseas, often at their darkest of times," Kerry warned of the cuts that would fall to funds that provide overseas emergency assistance.

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  89. who cares

    who cares about other countries and helping them when we cant even help ourselves... if we would quit sending millions and billions of dollars to help other countries and use that money to help ourselves.. The govt. also having problems with funding and wanting to cut cut programs and funding stuff that dosent need funding like studying fungus on trees who cares.. lets help each other here in america and the us needs to worry about us and not some other country.. let them defend for there self. We have millions homeless, millions that cant even afford to put food on there table, buy gas, and loosing there homes and jobs everyday. Stop letting these welfare people sit on there butts and make them get a job instead of having more and more children so us working people can raise them. America has there nose in other countries business to much. If they get in a war with each other dose it really effect us.. No.. keep our troops home where they belong instead of sending them to other countries fighting battles that isnt even our business. American needs to take care of there own first and foremost. These politians are the biggest criminals there are making millions of dollars a year and paying less taxes than the average working people who struggle everyday but they want to raise our taxes more and more and make us suffer while they live the good life... Money is the root of all evil and they dont care about the average american. They will tell you everything you want to hear during election then after elected they are like screw the people because im making all the good money great benefits have armed security but lets take away the guns out of americans hands that want to protect there family from the criminals. Gun laws what a joke.. Just look at chicago they have the toughest gun law there is and they have more murders than anyone.. Congress needs to come back down to earth and stop living in there own little world and stop playing with peoples money and there life.. Everyone one of them needs to see what the unemployement line looks like....

    February 28, 2013 at 6:50 am | Reply
  90. Stu

    Howabout instead of sending foreign aid, we impose a 2% income tax on every individual on earth for maintaining our role as world police and harbinger of freedom.

    February 15, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Reply
    • Justannoyed

      I am amazed that we want to keep spending. Why cant the Dems STOP? My house hold lost an additional $6000.00 out of my paycheck due to Obama Care and extra taxes.. So what did i do? I readjusted my budget and STOPPED spending, of course it came from providing any donations, time effort or the like to help others in the US apparently the government can do a better job than i can on deciding where i put my money!
      So when i hear retards cry about cutting funding to other countries that would rather blow us up than shake our hands i say screw them, pull out of those countries, stop doing business with them, dont let their people come to our country.
      When their economies crash because my tax dollars are not feedi. Them. Wont shed a tear.
      I hope all you Dems are happy you voted a guy that spends like a teenage school girl with no regaurds to the tax payers!
      Yes i am middle class and yes i hate deficit spending

      February 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Reply
      • Thinker23

        I'm sorry, my friend, but you DID NOT STOP spending. At best, you've REDUCED your spendings and so did the government.

        February 17, 2013 at 11:04 am |
      • Pete

        @justannoyed,I don't know where you get your figured smart guy,gal but under Pres.Obama you taxes have been the lowest since before Reagan so quit BSing on here because it ain't working!!I as a retiree haven't seen a tax change and believe me I budget so I know if there's any changes smart guy,gal!!And if you do any research again you'd see Pres.Obama spending at the lowest rate in decades much lower than your heroes Reagan and your Bush clowns who spent like drunks on a Friday night...Here's another fun fact that's its your republicans who are setting records in fillibusters and other obstructionism at record rates so be proud for now nitwit because after midterms most of your sanctumonious moron republicans will be history, gerrymandering ,voter supression or not!!

        February 18, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  91. anybody

    These cuts should cut out any foreign aid,we don't need to be borrowing money for anybody except our country.

    February 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      I'm sure that you'll cut in the proper places and amounts when you'll become the President...

      February 17, 2013 at 11:05 am | Reply
  92. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    February 15, 2013 at 12:21 am | Reply
    • KK2112


      February 15, 2013 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • Dan504

      Thanks, Mohammed, but I think you made up some numbers and failed to mention that most civilian deaths were from indiscriminate IEDs set off by Al-Queda and warring reigious factions in Iraq, not those killed accidentally by NATO forces killing terrorists who cowardly chose to hide among them.

      February 15, 2013 at 11:20 am | Reply
    • KK2112

      stop making stupid posts John

      February 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      I'm sorry to burst your bubble but it were the Iranians who overthrew the previous government of Iran and re-installed the monarchy in 1953. America at most helped the rebels. I do not recall that during Iran-Iran war America supported Iraq but even if it did I do not see any reasons it should have supported the Ayatollas instead. Yes, anmissile launched from USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner. It was a tragic mistake. Americans (just like Israelis) are HUMANS and humans sometimes make mistakes.

      February 17, 2013 at 11:12 am | Reply
      • Pete

        @Thinker,it was also Reagans regime that sold weapons like nerve gas to Hussein and other dictators and was caught in that contra affair but played dumb saying his alzheimers was kicking in and he didn't remember!!Remember also the over 300 people in embassies,barracks who died after terrorists attacks and nothing down against George Schultz as secretary of state then was there,more crap that's called double standards ,can't say I'm wrong on that because facts don't lie, just ignorent republicans who don't research that's all!!

        February 18, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  93. Richard

    What?? The Democrats are interested in security at U.S. missions overseas? When did that happen?

    February 14, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Reply
    • Dan504

      It happened just before the GOP voted to cut funds for that purpose.

      February 15, 2013 at 11:22 am | Reply
  94. George Patton

    "$500 million would be cut from security assistance accounts that are used for conflict prevention programs around the world." what kind of nonsense is "conflict prevention programs"? STOP GIVING MONEY TO MUSLIM COUNTRIES.

    February 14, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  95. TallinOK

    Same old song and dance. You can't cut here because ...

    Just improve security and improve our embassies. Quit trying to bribe a world that doesn't like us anyway. Take that money for foreign aid and feed some of OUR children, help OUR people. If any money is left return it to the taxpayers.

    February 14, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Reply
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