While Washington was busy with hearings about the Russia investigation on President Donald Trump during the first month of June, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee were holding hearings with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson over the administration's request for massive budget cuts to the State Department. The cuts are said to be at 32 percent which would cut programs for security, humanitarian aid, and economic growth.

Congress seethes at State Department budget request

Members of these committees were reportedly short with the Secretary due to the draconian nature of the budget requests.

But the dais was also lacking lawmakers as two out of 10 Democrats remained in one of the two hearings. Those lawmakers who left were heading to the more popular hearings taking place. Sen. Bob Corker even said of the budget request that it was a complete waste of time. And overall, Congress' view of the budget proposal was largely negative as in their line of questioning, they wondered why Tillerson was conducting an assault on America's values.

Targeting humanitarian aid

Lawmakers confronted the Secretary of State for cutting efforts to "promote democracy" and fight against human trafficking. One report by Bloomberg titled: "Senators slam Tillerson for proposed State Department cuts", said that the members of the subcommittee took issue with cuts the Secretary wanted to make to fight famine in Africa.

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Specifically, it was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who said that when Americans show up in Africa with food and education, the terrorists hate it. He then questioned how the administration was still going to be able to pull off providing humanitarian aid to everyone who needed it with a 29 percent budget cut.

Lawmakers get 'quippy wid it'

Sen. Graham quipped by telling Tillerson, "you da man!" But the Secretary was defiant adding that he was also looking to reorganize the Department by cutting the number of civil servants and foreign-service officers down by 8 percent by the end of the fiscal period of 2018. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) questioned whether other countries should plan on relying less on the United States due to the department's cuts. Many of the programs the administration wanted to cut also lead into cutting United Nations programs that provide humanitarian aid.

Trump cripple's welfare, bolsters warfare

In the early months of the administration, the President submitted two budget proposals which would drastically cut humanitarian programs at the UN, State Department funding and other governmental agencies that would affect domestic welfare programs just so that the administration could flood more money into the military.

Congress has rejected both budget proposals thus far and said that they would write their own just as they did when they passed their omnibus spending bill that had essentially "kicked the President's agenda to the curb."

Intentional weakening of federal infrastructure

Rex Tillerson defended himself during the hearings saying that America has been leading for a long time and that they would continue to do so. But he also said that the budget cuts were for national security in a post 9/11 world. The hiring for many positions in government has practically been non-existent within the Trump administration with no signs that the President wants to fill them. This was further confirmed by lawmakers when they asked the Secretary of State why that hadn't been done. Tillerson said that hiring was slowed by the process of new hires having to complete background checks and financial paperwork. He told the committee that they were hiring at 50 percent.

It's been suggested that the administration was doing this to intentionally weaken agencies throughout the government, which has already been confirmed by White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon who has said quite plainly that they intended to dismantle the administrative state. The Bloomberg article said that rather than foreign diplomats going to the State Department, they have instead gone straight to the White House which another sign of an authoritarian President.

Congress does heavy-lifting

Profound hints of that authoritarianism have become clear quite recently in an effort to end White House press briefings in order to make accountability more difficult to achieve. President Trump is also using his the cancellation as a way to make himself the single source to speak on behalf of the administration. Trump's cabinet members, such as Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, have been criticized by Congress for going to these hearings with their proposals which have been described as "suicide missions," suggesting that they take their budget requests back to whoever is telling them to make those cuts.

But the overall response from Congress over Tillerson's budget request and many others has been negative all around. Sen. Corker of the Foreign Relations Committee appeared to speak on behalf of everyone on the Hill when he said that Congress would be putting together their own budget for the State Department, as he had already said that the budget request brought to them was a waste of time.