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Engel Statement on Chaffetz Embassy Construction Report

ENGEL STATEMENT ON CHAFFETZ EMBASSY CONSTRUCTION REPORT

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the Oversight and Government Reform Committee Republican staff report on embassy construction:

“For years, I have made the safety of American diplomats serving around the world a top priority. We should spare no cost in ensuring that our diplomats are as safe as possible. Unfortunately, Chairman Chaffetz’s report leans on inaccurate information, making partisan claims rather than attempting to find real solutions to keep our brave men and women safe in an increasingly complex, global environment.  

“The report suggests that a shift to a ‘Design Excellence’ type of construction caused cost increases and delayed building schedules. Yet not one of the report’s State Department interviewees makes this correlation. In fact, many argued that design flexibility improves security and lowers long-term costs. The Foreign Affairs Committee oversees the State Department because our experts actually understand these issues, and we manage to grapple with problems without turning everything into a political sideshow.

“Our diplomats and development experts are constantly asked to do more with less.  On the other hand, the front page of this morning’s WashingtonPost featured a story on $125 billion in Pentagon waste. House Republicans should focus on eliminating this kind of abusive spending rather than playing politics with our diplomats and their security.”