Continued from page 1

While the primary focus at Wednesday’s hearings will be on the State Department bureaucracy, Democrats plan to blame House Republicans for failing to approve in the recent Sandy recovery bill more diplomatic security funding for the State Department.

“I know from personal experience that there are many thoughtful Republicans in positions of responsibility in the House who want to do the right thing,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Tuesday in testing the new line of attack. “Yet a small but apparently dominant obstructionist cadre within the Republican ranks seemingly is willing to push the bounds of irresponsibility to ever greater heights.”

Overall, Congress since 2007 had increased diplomatic security funding for the department by about 27 percent, officials have said.