Nov 28, 2017

Tillerson "offended" by criticism of State budget cuts

Sec. of State Rex Tillerson. Photo: Sait Serkan Gurbuz / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that he is offended by reports that the State Department is being "hollowed out," and he attributed the cuts to two things: that the 2016 budget was "a record high," and that the Department expects to be successful in conflict areas and able to decrease their level of support.

Why it matters: A New York Times op-ed from two former diplomats said "draconian budget cuts for the State department...threaten to dismantle a great foreign service."

Tillerson's full statement:

"I have been so proud of the acting assistant secretaries and people who have stepped into acting undersecretary roles, and when I read these articles that there's this hallowing out, I take offense to that on their behalf...when people say somehow we don't have a state department that functions."

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates: 3 out of 4 Americans forced to stay home

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

At least 30 state governors and the District to Columbia have ordered their residents to stay home to promote social distancing and limit community spread from the coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: Those states account for about 3/4 of the American population, the N.Y. Times notes. More cities like Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting an influx of cases, prompting states to take stronger actions.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 15 mins ago - Health

America under lockdown

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If you thought March felt like the longest month in American history, just wait for April and May, when people will be forced to witness spring from the indoors.

The big picture: 28 states are in or entering lockdown, with Maryland and Virginia joining those ranks today. So is D.C., as its mayor made official this afternoon. Those states include roughly 3/4 of the American people, the N.Y. Times notes.

Go deeperArrow17 mins ago - Health

Ford, GE aim to make 50,000 ventilators in 100 days

A Model A-E ventilator, left, and a simple test lung. The ventilator uses a design that operates on air pressure without the need for electricity, addressing the needs of most COVID-19 patients. Photo: Ford

Ford and GE Healthcare announced plans on Monday to build a simplified ventilator design licensed from a Florida medical technology company, with the goal of producing 50,000 machines by early July, and up to 30,000 a month thereafter, to fight the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The companies are moving in "Trump time" to meet demand for urgently needed ventilators, says White House Defense Production Act Coordinator Peter Navarro. But with deaths expected to peak in two weeks, the machines won't arrive in large numbers in time to help the hardest-hit cities.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 19 mins ago - Health