state department

State Department official seeks to allay concerns over agency overhaul

The State Department's second in command, John Sullivan, sought Monday to allay fears that a plan to reorganize the agency will lead to an upheaval of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, telling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that major decisions, such as transferring key operations to the Department of Homeland Security, have not been made.

But Democrats on the committee remained skeptical given the drastic cuts to the budgets of the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development that the Trump administration has proposed. The reductions, which Congress has yet to approve, have stoked concerns that a far-reaching overhaul, involving job cuts, program eliminations and the expected consolidation of many offices in the agency's sprawling bureaucracy are a foregone conclusion.

But Sullivan gamely argued otherwise. He said there is no intention of folding the independent U.S. Agency for International Development into the State Department. He told members of the committee that USAID is well represented in internal department discussions on the reorganization and that he understands and respects USAID's different mission, culture and skill sets.

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Tags: budget, state department

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