WASHINGTON — United States embassies could see funding for security, maintenance and construction sliced by roughly $129 million if massive defense cuts are allowed to take effect at the end of the year.
The report, released Friday by the executive Office of Management and Budget, also estimates that another $2 million would be cut from funding for the protection of embassy officials. The estimates come after a week when U.S. embassies across the Middle East faced ambush and threats of further violence, and when one ambassador, Christopher Stevens, was killed in Libya.
On a conference call with reporters, a senior White House official echoed what the administration has said previously, that “sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security.”
“This was not policy that was intended to be in place,” the official added.
Sequestration, which is scheduled to take effect at the end of the year and would cut roughly $1.2 trillion in spending, was approved by default after a Congressional “super committee” failed to reach an agreement to cut spending and reduce the federal deficit. Nondefense discretionary spending, which includes embassy security, will be cut by 8.2 percent, according to a senior administration official.
Lawmakers are unlikely to address the sequester until after the presidential election, and are widely expected to push a solution even further back, possibly until after new elected officials take office in January.