Madam Chairwoman, thank you for yielding. I want to start by acknowledging the difficult work that you and Ranking Member Lowey do on this Subcommittee. Mrs. Lowey is so dedicated that she is doing double-duty as Ranking Member of the Full Committee and this Subcommittee.
Mrs. Lowey and I both agree on the importance of having hearings on what federal agencies are spending, crafting bills that responsibly fund the federal government, and looking for areas where these programs can be more efficient. I am committed to working with her to move appropriations bills through the Subcommittee, Full Committee, and the floor during a very difficult budget environment.
Mr. Secretary, congratulations on your new position and thank you for being with us today to discuss the Department of State's Fiscal Year 2014 budget request. From the continued instability in the Middle East, to the economic difficulties around the world, to the evolving challenges in the Asia-Pacific region - especially North Korea, there is no question that you are serving during a critical period in history.
Tragic events such as the attack in Boston on Monday remind us that our country, our freedom and our way of life remain at constant risk, and we must take measured steps to protect the values we hold dear. Our hearts go out to the people of your home state.
As the Chairwoman mentioned, the request for fiscal year 2014 for the State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee is $52 billion, which is approximately $1.2 billion above the prior year once you factor in the effects of sequestration. This will be difficult to do given the funding constraints the Committee is under. We need to work with you to prioritize your most important needs.
As you know, one budget issue I have followed closely for years is embassy security. I look forward to your testimony today so we can get a better understanding of the Administration's plans to keep American diplomats and development officers safe.
We have some tough choices ahead of us, and I look forward to hearing from you today. Thank you.
I yield back to the Chairwoman.