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President Trump’s planned cuts to the State Department will cost “American blood and treasure,” a senior House Democrat warned Tuesday.

Trump plans to increase defense spending by $54 billion, and his unofficial budget request would offset those spending increases by cutting discretionary spending in other government programs. That includes a 30 percent haircut for the State Department, reports suggest.

“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,” said New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “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.”

Trump’s team crafted the budget as they did with an eye towards rolling back the defense spending cuts mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act, without raising the deficit. “It is a true America-first budget,” White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who voted for the 2011 spending cuts as congressman from South Carolina, said Monday. “It prioritizes rebuilding the military, including restoring our nuclear capabilities; protecting the nation and securing the border; enforcing the laws currently on the books; taking care of vets; and increasing school choice. And it does all of that without adding to the currently projected FY 2018 deficit.”

That budget is already taking fire from Republican defense hawks, who protest that the $54 billion increase isn’t enough to meet current foreign policy needs. “With a world on fire, America cannot secure peace through strength with just 3 percent more than President Obama’s budget,” Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., said Monday.

Mulvaney was a forceful fiscal conservative in Congress and stood by those positions during his Senate confirmation hearing, which suggests that any increase in Pentagon or State Department spending could place increased pressure on other government agencies. But Senate Democrats plan to block spending bills that raise defense spending without a commensurate increase in other domestic spending.

“I can support increases in defense, but I’m not going to stand by while he guts our investments in education, innovation and infrastructure,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., told the Washington Examiner. “We need to have a balance between those requests for defense [increases] and for these important domestic economic investments.”

Engel, as the ranking member on the foreign affairs panel, focused exclusively on the State Department.

“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,” he said. “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.”

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“If we undermine these efforts, we make it more likely that somewhere down the road, a fire will burn out of control,” he added. “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.”



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