For eight years now, the Obama White House has consolidated power on foreign policy, at the State Department’s expense.  It’s micromanaged.  It’s “frozen out” the Secretary of State and other key players on big decisions.

Not only has this led to serious mistakes, it has – along with the president’s five-year failure to nominate a permanent inspector general at the State Department – left Foggy Bottom in desperate need of reform.

To keep the peace in a dangerous world, America must modernize its foreign affairs, development assistance, and public diplomacy programs.

That’s why, this afternoon, the House will vote on the State Department Authorities Act (S. 1635), which outlines important reforms to strengthen oversight, update State’s antiquated workforce, and ensure the safety of our U.S. diplomats who are serving in high-threat, high-risk places.

Specifically, this bill:

Enhances Embassy Security

  • Authorizes “best value” contracting, ensuring embassies hire the best local guards.
  • Requires the State Department to designate a list of high-risk, high-threat posts – strengthening security by enhancing training and prioritizing resources.
  • Directs the State Department and Defense Department to jointly develop contingency plans – including the rapid deployment of military forces.
  • Increases accountability for conduct that puts embassies or personnel at risk.

Strengthens Accountability

  • Mandates monthly briefings to Congress on embassy security.
  • Empowers the Department’s Inspector General – an office that sat vacant for five years of the Obama Administration – increasing access to reports of waste, fraud, and abuse.
  • Dictates reporting to Congress on unfulfilled GAO and IG cost-savings recommendations.

Advances Reform

  • Introduces flexibility into the Department’s workforce and authorizes a pilot program to acquire talent from the private sector.
  • Demands an annual report on all U.S. contributions to the United Nations.
  • Orders a comprehensive strategy for reducing sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers.