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Sen. Lindsey Graham warns of 'Benghazis in the making' if Trump budget passes

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tells Capitol Hill reporters on Tuesday that President Donald Trump's 2018 budget proposal would result in more "Benghazis," if passed. (Image source: MSNBC screenshot)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Tuesday that President Donald Trump's proposed FY 2018 federal budget would result in more "Benghazis."

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney largely led the effort to craft a federal budget that calls for a 31 percent decrease in funding for the U.S. State Department, which received $54.9 billion in the FY 2017 budget.

Trump's budget would slash the amount to $37.6 billion in 2018 — a $17.3 billion reduction, according to the Washington Post.

The president has said very little about the proposed budget, which the White House sent to Congress during the president's first overseas trip. Capitol Hill lawmakers, however, didn't wait for Trump to return home before weighing in with pointed opposition.

And it's not just Democratic lawmakers criticizing the Trump administration's budget. Some Republican lawmakers voiced their displeasure with the plan as well.

"This budget, if fully implemented, would require us to retreat from the world, diplomatically, or put people at risk," Graham told reporters.

The senator suggested that there would be more attacks on American diplomats abroad, similar to the September 2012 terror attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans, including an ambassador.

"You have a lot of Benghazis in the making if this thing became law," Graham said Tuesday of the administration's budget.

Graham said that the State Department cuts would result in the U.S. having "to withdraw from the world" since there would not be enough money to pay for the security of American personnel overseas.

“That may be the goal of this budget. It’s not my goal. This guts soft power as we know it," Graham said.

In addition to its State Department cuts, the Trump budget would decrease funding for the EPA and Medicaid entitlements. However, the budget will not touch Social Security and Medicare entitlements.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump vowed to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid funding.

“I am going to protect and save your Social Security and your Medicare. You made a deal a long time ago,” Trump said during a Nov. 6 campaign event in Sioux City, Iowa. "I will do everything within my power not to touch Social Security, to leave it the way it is."

"I want to leave Social Security as is, I want to make our country rich again so we can afford it," Trump said at the time.

And in June 2015, Trump specifically said he would “save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts.”

“Have to do it. Get rid of the fraud. Get rid of the waste and abuse, but save it,” Trump said, according to The Hill.

The Trump administration's budget would cut billions from entitlement programs like Medicaid and food stamps but, as Mulvaney indicated Tuesday, “there’s not a single thing [cut] from Social Security or Medicare" because "that’s what he [Trump] promised,", Fox News reported..

Trump's proposed 2018 budget would leave Medicare entitlements untouched, but reduce the amount of funding for Social Security Disability Insurance, which the Social Security Administration administers. Mulvaney defended the move to cut SSDI, saying it's "not what most people consider to be Social Security," MarketWatch reported.

Mulvaney described the president's budget as a "taxpayer first" proposal that was written "through the eyes of the people who are actually paying the taxes." The OMB director said that "too often" those in Washington, D.C., "only look at the recipient side," according to the Atlantic.

Mulvaney said that the president's budget would put Americans who are able to work but are currently receiving food stamps or disability insurance benefits back in the job market.

“We need people to go to work. If you’re on food stamps and you’re able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you’re on disability insurance and you’re not supposed to be, you're not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work," Mulvaney said.

This, in theory, would also increase the labor participation rate, which declined under former President Barack Obama.

"There’s a dignity to work. There’s a necessity to work to help the country succeed, and we need everybody to be pulling in the same direction," Mulvaney said.

(H/T: Mediaite)

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