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Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On House Stripping Of The Leahy Embassy Security Amendment

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[Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairs the Subcommittee on the State Department and Foreign Operations of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He is the author of the Leahy Amendment on embassy security to the supplemental appropriations bill passed by the Senate in December, which was removed by Republican leaders in the counterpart bill passed by the House last week.]

"In time when a terrorist attack in Algeria has led to security alerts for U.S. facilities abroad, House Republicans once again blithely torpedoed embassy security funds approved by the Senate.

"I know from personal experience that there are many thoughtful Republicans in positions of responsibility in the House who want to do the right thing. Yet a small but apparently dominant obstructionist cadre within the Republican ranks seemingly is willing to push the bounds of irresponsibility to ever greater heights.

"Since the Republican takeover of the House, House Republicans have proposed deep cuts for U.S. embassy operations and programs across the board, including for security.

"Now they have topped even that record of recklessness. In preventing this transfer of unused funds appropriated earlier for Iraq -- funds already appropriated and approved by Congress -- they have hobbled the work that everyone agrees is needed to harden our embassy security efforts.

"The Administration did not do everything it should have in Benghazi -- the report of the Accountability Review Board, appointed by Secretary Clinton, makes that clear. Knowing the Secretary, I have no doubt that she will want to do everything she can to learn from these mistakes. Many of our diplomats serve in dangerous places by necessity. We need to protect them as best we can, without turning our embassies into impenetrable fortresses that make it impossible for them to do their jobs.

"For Republicans to blame the Administration for failing to protect our diplomats, without acknowledging their own efforts to slash resources for embassy security, is pure, distilled hypocrisy."


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