Secretary Tillerson Testifies To Senate Committee on Fiscal Year 2018 Budget…

Today, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the State Department’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

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[Transcript] SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, some of you may have seen a press release that was put out just before I arrived announcing that at the President’s direction, the Department of State has secured the release of Otto Warmbier from North Korea. He is on his way, en route home, to be reunited with his family.

We continue our discussions with the North Korean regime regarding the release of the three other American citizens that have been detained. We have no comment on Mr. Warmbier’s condition, out of respect to him and the family, and that is the statement that was released.

CHAIRMAN CORKER: Very good. Well, listen, we look forward to your opening comment and questions. Thank you again for being here, and you can begin with that, if you would. Thank you.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, thank you, Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Cardin, distinguished members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss this administration’s State Department and USAID request for Fiscal Year 2018.

As we all know, 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.

However, the State Department and USAID, like many other institutions here and around the world, have not evolved in their responsiveness as quickly as new challenges and threats to our national security have changed and are changing. We are challenged to respond to a post-Cold War world that set in motion new global dynamics, and a post-9/11 world characterized by historic new threats that present themselves in ways never seen before, enabled by technological tools that we have been ill-prepared to engage.

The 21st century has already presented many evolving challenges to U.S. national security and economic prosperity. We must develop proactive responses to protect and advance the interest of the American people.

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.

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. The conviction of our country’s founders is enduring: that all men are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. As a nation, we hold high the aspiration that all will one day experience the freedoms we have known.

In our young administration’s foreign policy, we are motivated by the conviction that the more we engage with other nations on issues of security and prosperity, the more we will have opportunities to shape the human rights conditions in those nations. 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 other 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, but we have made hard choices to reduce funding for other initiatives. Even with reductions in funding, we will continue to be the leader in international development, global health, democracy and good governance initiatives, as well as humanitarian efforts. If natural disasters or epidemics strike overseas, America will respond with the care and support it always has. And I’m convinced we can maximize the effectiveness of these programs and continue to offer America’s helping hand to the world.

This budget request also reflects a commitment to ensure every tax dollar spent is aligned with the department’s and USAID’s mission critical objectives. The request focused the State Department and USAID’s efforts on missions which deliver the greatest value and opportunity of success for the American people. The State Department and USAID budget increased over 60 percent from Fiscal Year 2007, reaching a record-high $55.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2017. Recognizing this rate of increase in funding is not sustainable, the Fiscal Year 2018 budget request seeks to align the core missions of the State Department with historic funding levels. We believe this budget also represents the interests of the American people, including responsible stewardship of the public’s money.

I know there is intense interest in prospective State Department and USAID redesign efforts. We have just completed collecting information on our organizational processes and culture through a survey that was made available to every one of our State and USAID colleagues. Over 35,000 surveys were completed, and we also have held in-person listening sessions with approximately 300 individuals to obtain their perspective on what we do and how we do it. I met personally with dozens of team members who spoke candidly about their experiences. From this feedback, we have been able to get a clearer overall view of our organization.

We have no preconceived outcomes, and our discussions of the goals, priorities, and direction of the State Department and USAID are not token exercises. The principles for our listening sessions and subsequent evaluation of our organization are the same as those which I stated in my confirmation hearing: for our foreign policy. We will see the world for what it is, be honest with ourselves and the American people, follow the facts where they lead us, and hold ourselves and others accountable. We are still analyzing the feedback we have received, and we expect to release the final findings of the survey soon.

From all of this, one thing is certain: I’m listening to what my people tell me are the challenges facing them, and how we can produce a more efficient, effective State Department and USAID. And we will work as a team and with the Congress to improve both organizations.

Throughout my career, I have never believed, nor have I ever experienced, that the level of funding devoted to a goal is the most important factor in achieving it. Our budget 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 that the U.S. State Department and USAID will continue to deliver results for the American people. I thank you for your time and am happy now to answer your questions.  (transcript link)

This entry was posted in Big Stupid Government, President Trump, Rescue Missions, Secretary of State, Secretary Tillerson, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Secretary Tillerson Testifies To Senate Committee on Fiscal Year 2018 Budget…

  1. TwoLaine says:

    It was an EXCELLENT hearing, as is everything T-Rex touches.

    Liked by 10 people

  2. MIKE says:

    “Warm beer and bread, they say could raise the dead…
    well it reminds me of the menu at a holiday Inn!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • calbear84 says:

      OK Mike I’ll bite…what does Jimmy Buffett have to do with TRex?

      Like

      • MIKE says:

        Otto… can’t figure out why he and these other Americans would be in NK in these times… makes no sense. Anyway, I give Trex credit for getting him home… hope the other “students” get back, safely. I think there is two or three more prisoners over there.

        Like

        • Ned says:

          He was a fool to go to North Korea and then STEAL a propaganda poster.
          An IDIOT. No one with sense goes there or steals there. Perhaps others can LEARN from his stupidity? I have to say, I have little pity for someone who intentionally does ridiculous things like this. He brought ALL of it on to himself. I wonder who paid for this trip? Was he studying abroad? Most college kids don’t have the money for this stuff. He is paying a tough price.

          Like

          • Deb says:

            He was there on a school trip. I’m assuming it is a school with a leftist slant to go to NK. Of course liberals think that negative consequences are mean, and so their kids grow up doing whatever they feel like doing without worrying about what might happen as a result. Then the taxpayers get to pay for the consequences as well.

            This kid is the poster child for what leftist parenting and education are doing to our country.

            Like

        • BigMamaTEA says:

          The young man is in a coma. Has been for almost a year. NK has been hiding this apparently. Ray Starmann (former USArmy Intelligence/Gulf War vet) over at http://usdefensewatch.com/2017/04/the-tragic-fate-of-otto-warmbier/ has written a couple of pretty detailed articles.

          This young man (Otto Warmbier) is around 23 years old, was a Univ. of Virginia student.

          Like

  3. Steve in Titusville FL says:

    I pray the boy is not in a coma as many sites are reporting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. M33 says:

    Damn the UniParty!
    Full Speed Ahead!!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. bflyjesusgrl says:

    Wow, EIGHTEEN BILLION DOLLAR DECREASE in SWAMP expenditures!! T-Rex rocks!! #MAGA

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Watcher says:

    Without the CGF and foreign country corruption USAID is reduced.
    And the over bloated State Dept staff cuts. And globalist trough eliminated.
    Grants for people, not bugs,feelings, “art”, revolutions, ice, coffee taste, etc.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Alison says:

    What a terrific opening speech. When have we EVER heard a political appointee say a reduced budget won’t affect the quality of delivery (no woe is me from T-Rex) or that they are public stewards of OUR money?!?

    Liked by 5 people

  8. greenvalleygal says:

    T-Rex says, “The first responsibility of government is the security of its own citizens.” The Constitution of the United States says “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure Domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense…”

    Brilliant and now in practice under the Trump Administration. Finally, competent people at the highest levels.

    Thank you, Jesus!

    Liked by 8 people

  9. Iam An American says:

    Mr T. Rex should have kept the USD 18B and give it to the Border Wall project. He can say its also part of USAID for the Southern Border Fence Power Generation Corp (US Alternate energy & International Distribution).

    Like

  10. cbjoasurf says:

    How about Trex build the wall and call it a “USAID” project! Lets give our country some USAID for a change.

    Like

  11. Katherine McCoun says:

    There were Lions on the Hill today!

    Liked by 4 people

  12. JC says:

    Can’t imagine a better, more qualified Secretary of State, perhaps ever.

    “Throughout my career, I have never believed, nor have I ever experienced, that the level of funding devoted to a goal is the most important factor in achieving it. OUR BUDGET 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 resources.”

    I’d walk through fire for a leader who speaks like that. Imagine all of the motivated, patriotic citizens working under this Secretary of State. They outnumber the BHO holdovers and will continue to replace them. This is but one example of sea changes happening now in our government every hour of every day.

    We are watching and participating in history in the making, and our children and grandchildren will live entirely different lives because of it. I am humbled and profoundly grateful.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Pam says:

    Like

  14. theresanne says:

    I live on a small island that receives billions of American dollars in USAID. In the past few years, America has paid over $35 million to pave about 4 miles of road, and the project isn’t done yet. They are paying to send teenagers who can barely speak English to summer school at US Ivy League colleges. Vouchers are handed out daily to locals who buy building materials, sell them for 1/100 of the price and get drunk and kill each other with machetes (the only purchase they actually keep to use for themselves.) I wish T-Rex would come out here and fling around a few bodies.

    Like

  15. Pam says:

    Liked by 1 person

  16. franker01 says:

    The goofy little Dem Senator seemed to be concerned about 2 things:
    Are we sending enough money to the Third World.
    Are we hiring enough Minorities.
    This is one example of why our country is Going to Hell in a Hand Basket.

    Like

  17. Bob says:

    State department budget should be under one billion tops!

    Like

  18. Robert says:

    Thanks Sundance for continued phenomenal reporting. T-Rex and Pres. Trump are the best!

    Like

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