Secretary Tillerson Speaks Before U.S. Senate Foreign Relations, Appropriations Committees on FY 2018 Budget Request

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ecretary of State Rex Tillerson testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Secretary Tillerson Speaks Before U.S. Senate Foreign Relations, Appropriations Committees on FY 2018 Budget Request

Today, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testified on the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Foreign Operations. The budget request supports the President’s “America First” vision with a commitment to four key national priorities:

  1. Defending U.S. National Security
  2. Asserting U.S. Leadership and Influence
  3. Fostering Opportunities for U.S. Economic Interests
  4. Ensuring Effectiveness and Accountability to the U.S. Taxpayer

In his opening statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary Tillerson noted, “...America’s global competitive advantages and standing as a leader are under constant challenge.  The dedicated men and women of the State Department and USAID carry out the important and often perilous work of advancing America’s interest every day, 24/7, 365 days a year.  That mission is unchanged.”

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

The Secretary went on to say, “While our mission will also be focused on advancing the economic interest of the American people, the State Department’s primary focus will be to protect our citizens at home and abroad.  Our mission is at all times guided by our longstanding values of freedom, democracy, individual liberty, and human dignity.”  

“History has shown that the United States leaves a footprint of freedom wherever it goes.  Ensuring the security and prosperity of the American people and advancing our values has necessitated difficult decisions in areas of our budget.  The Fiscal Year 2018 budget request includes substantial funding for many foreign assistance programs under the auspices of USAID and the State Department.”

During his testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Foreign Operations, Secretary Tillerson underscored that the Fiscal Year 2018 budget request seeks to align the core missions of the State Department with historic funding levels. He went on to state that “[t]he request focuses the State Department and USAID’s efforts on missions which deliver the greatest value and opportunity of success for the American people.”

In closing, the Secretary asserted:  “Our budget will never be determined – will never determine our ability to be effective; our people will.  My colleagues at the State Department and USAID are a deep source of inspiration, and their patriotism, professionalism, and willingness to make sacrifices for our country are our greatest resource.  I am confident the U.S. State Department and USAID will continue to deliver results for the American people.”

Editor's Note: This entry is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.

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