Democrats: Automatic spending cuts would hit US embassy security
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Funds to beef up security at US diplomatic posts would be slashed by an estimated $168 million this year under spending cuts due to kick in shortly, congressional Democrats said.
The funds would be axed from the State Department’s budget for embassy and diplomatic security if the across-the-board cuts to the US budget, known as “sequestration,” go ahead on March 1, said Matt Dennis, spokesman for the Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee.
The cuts will take place unless lawmakers and President Obama reach an agreement to stop them. The cuts would total about $85 billion this year across the entire US budget. With a deal to avoid them looking less and less likely, lawmakers are trying to figure what this could mean to various programs.
The $168 million would come out of the State Department’s “Worldwide Security Protection” and “Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance” accounts, which together received a little over $2 billion in fiscal 2012, House Democrats said.
“This funding is used to enhance safety and security through construction upgrades and hiring trained and reliable local security personnel,” Dennis told Reuters.