Tillerson: State Department spending levels 'unsustainable'

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking March 16 in Japan in one of his first press availabilities since becoming America's top diplomat, offered support for a Trump administration proposal to slash the State Department's budget by nearly 30%.

Acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a phone briefing with reporters on Tuesday that the agency was considering "having a seat available" on Tillerson's aircraft.

Several of our members have traveled commercially to meet Secretary Tillerson on the ground in Asia.

The State Department reportedly told journalists that Tillerson would not be taking any media on his plane, forcing them to fly on commercial airlines.




Tillerson arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday for the first leg of the trip, which is occurring amid escalating tensions with North Korea. "I'm not saying this is going to be the norm going forward". "We expect that the diplomatic press corps will be afforded access to Secretary Tillerson equal to that given to the reporter on the plane". He said the situation was challenging, but that he took on the challenge that Trump had given him "willingly".

According to its website, IJR is an "audience first" news organization that looks to "challenge conventional wisdom and traditional coverage". She was also briefly part of the team that covered the 2016 election campaign for Reuters.

The White House proposal to cut the core State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID) budget from $36.7 billion in 2017 to $25.6 billion in fiscal year 2018 reflects the Trump administration's expectation that the United States will be involved in fewer military conflicts overseas and that other countries will be contributing more for foreign assistance, Tillerson said.

"We don't take this opportunity lightly and recognize the controversy surrounding press access for the trip", IJR founder and chief executive Alex Skatell said in the statement, adding that Ms. McPike had previously been "persistent in requesting an interview with Secretary Tillerson". In rare cases, particularly late in a secretary's tenure, some news outlets have declined, such as former Secretary John Kerry's December 2016 trip to Saudi Arabia.

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