WILMINGTON, Del. – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations Committees, issued the following statement following reports that the Trump administration’s budget proposes deep cuts in funding to the State Department and U.S. foreign assistance:

“U.S. leadership in the world relies on many tools of American power. Our military must always remain the most capable, technologically advanced force in the world, but we can preserve military supremacy while also maintaining small but effective investments in diplomacy and development. Key voices in the Trump administration understand the value of funding for our nation’s diplomats and development experts. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has said, ‘If you don't fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition.’ Secretary of State Rex Tillerson repeated Secretary Mattis’ wise words when I questioned him during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Foreign assistance is not charity. The aid we provide to countries around the world directly advances U.S. national interests by fostering a safer and more stable world, opening markets to U.S. businesses, and promoting American values. It allows us to confront global challenges such as terrorism, pandemic disease, and drug trafficking. It would be both foolish and mathematically impossible for President Trump to offset other spending increases by slashing State Department and development budgets, which represent just one percent of all federal spending. Fortunately, members of Congress of both parties appreciate the value of foreign assistance to our foreign policy, and I’m confident Republicans and Democrats will work together to defend this small but vital sliver of federal spending.”