Lawmakers Rough Up Pompeo Over Proposed State Department Cuts

The sales job did not appear to work.

“After Congress made it clear we would not gut American diplomacy, the administration made essentially the same request,” Mr. Engel said. “This, in my view, demonstrates contempt for diplomacy and diplomats and contempt for the Congress, frankly, whose job it is to decide how much to spend on foreign affairs.”

Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, the committee’s ranking Republican, told the secretary that “certain cuts can have unintended consequences that cost us more in the long term.” He quoted Jim Mattis, the former defense secretary: “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition.”

One of the more heated exchanges of the afternoon came when Representative Gregory W. Meeks, Democrat of New York, said Mr. Pompeo and other Republicans were hypocrites for attacking Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, during House hearings over the attacks on a United States compound in Benghazi, Libya, then seeking a 40 percent cut to diplomatic security. Mr. Pompeo was the most outspoken House member against Mrs. Clinton during those hearings.

“Where is the concern now on the side of the aisle of this administration about diplomatic security?” Mr. Meeks asked.

Mr. Pompeo responded, “Diplomatic security is not about dollars expended.”

The issue of Saudi Arabia has drawn bipartisan condemnation of the Trump administration from Congress, which is suspicious of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the killing of Mr. Khashoggi — the C.I.A. has concluded that he ordered the murder — and his role in pushing Saudi forces in the disastrous war in Yemen.

On Wednesday, Representative Brad Sherman, Democrat of California, pressed Mr. Pompeo on the administration’s nuclear negotiations with Saudi Arabia. Last month, House Democrats released a report that said top administration officials had pushed to build nuclear power plants throughout Saudi Arabia over the objections of White House lawyers.