News Local/State

Durbin Frustrated with Funding Loss to State Department


U.S. Senator Dick Durbin has expressed his frustration over what across the board spending cuts would mean to State Department coffers that have already taken a hit.

The Democrat addressed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as she defended her handling of the September attack in Benghazi.

Durbin notes Clinton sought more funds for protection of ambassadors and diplomats, and was refused existing dollars by the U.S. House.

Meanwhile, when the automatic budget cuts known as ‘sequestration’ take effect March 1st, the Senator says that means losing another $50-million for facilities and personnel that protect staff.

“So I’d like you to comment," Durbin asked Clinton. "How can we keep our commitment to be a leader in the world in the area of diplomacy and statecraft to avoid the necessity of war if we don’t give the most basic resources to your department which commands, as I understand it, about 1 and a half percent of the federal budget?"

Clinton says the State Department was doing all it could with all the funding it received.  She says it’s also a matter of dealing with a struggling economy, but also being smart about making the right investments.

Durbin also defended the actions of Ambassador Susan Rice, saying there was no cover-up in the investigation of the attack that left four Americans dead.