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State Dept. reeling from budget cuts

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US State DepartmentThe State Department is still reeling from deep cuts made by Senate and House appropriations panels to the Obama administration’s budget requests for next year, with some officials warning of national security risks.

Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state in its Bureau of Political Military Affairs, told a meeting last week of the Center for New American Security that the hefty cuts will compromise national security. He noted that the 2012 funding bill for State Department and foreign operations was cut 8 percent by the full Senate Appropriations Committee and a whopping 18 percent by the House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations subcommittee.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had sounded similar concern in March, telling the House Foreign Affairs Committee that threatened deep cuts would be “devastating” to her agency.

While overall funding for the department and foreign assistance approved by the panels actually increased from this year’s levels, that is only because they both approved the administration’s separate request for $8.7 billion to handle State’s additional expenses in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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