Sens. Kerry, Lugar warn against State Dept. cuts in Benghazi hearing

Lugar, the outgoing ranking member on the committee, will echo those sentiments in his own opening statement.

“Our embassies are unlikely to be both effective and effective and safe if Congress fails to devote adequate funding to the 150 Account, which pays for State Department operations,” Lugar will say, according to prepared remarks. 

“The State Department budget remains a popular target for cuts. In recent years, we have avoided the type of funding decline that the State Department experienced in the 1990s. But it still common for Congress to vote on indiscriminate proposals that show little understanding of the contributions of the State Department to the safety and prosperity of our country.”

An independent review of the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi made public Tuesday primarily faults “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels” of the State Department, but it also placed blame on Congress for cutting funds.

“For many years the State Department has been engaged in a struggle to obtain the resources necessary to carry out its work, with varying degrees of success,” the report concludes. “This has led some managers to favor restricting the use of resources as a general orientation.

“The solution requires a more serious and sustained commitment from Congress to sustain State Department needs, which, in total, constitute a small percentage both of the full national budget and that spent for national security,” the report found. “One overall conclusion in this report is that Congress must do its part to meet this challenge and provide necessary resources to the State Department to address security risks and meet mission imperatives.”