McConnell criticizes Trump's proposed State Dept cuts

McConnell criticizes Trump's proposed State Dept cuts
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Iraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday criticized President Trump's proposed cuts to the State Department budget, calling them inappropriate.

"America being a force is a lot more than building up the Defense Department. Diplomacy is important, extremely important, and I don't think these reductions at the State Department are appropriate," McConnell told The Associated Press.

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"There are things on the domestic side that are extremely important," he added.

McConnell maintained that he will fend off attempts to cut funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission, which sponsors economic development initiatives in Kentucky, and shield the National Institutes of Health, according to the AP.

The Kentucky lawmaker has previously said that he does not support the State Department cuts and predicted last month that they would "probably not" clear the Senate.

"When we get to funding the government, obviously it will be done on a bipartisan basis," he said last month, adding that the "diplomatic portion of the federal budget is very important."

The White House released its budget blueprint last week proposing a 28 percent cut to the State Department budget, among other major agency cuts, while proposing a $54 billion boost to defense spending.

Members of both parties have criticized aspects of the budget and lawmakers typically pass their own budgets.