First State Authorization Act Passed by Committee Since 2013

Washington D.C.— Representatives Michael McCaul (R-TX), Lead Republican on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Chairman, today welcomed the committee’s unanimous approval of the State Department Authorization Act (H.R. 3352). Upon Committee action, the members issued the following statements: 

“I am very pleased this committee came together to pass the first comprehensive Department of State authorization bill in six years. Its passage reasserts our Constitutional Article I authority to provide direction to the State Department. Not only is it our Committee’s responsibility to provide robust and continued oversight of the Department, but we owe it to our diplomats to ensure they have the best tools possible in an ever-evolving international landscape. This reauthorization streamlines and improves the Department, provides cost saving measures in embassy construction while maintaining security, and eliminates duplicative programs and outdated reports. Additionally, it will ensure the efficiency of various programs by mandating rigorous success measuring metrics. I want to thank Chairman Engel for his commitment to an open and bipartisan process. We have made it our goal to get this landmark legislation to the President’s desk and I am confident that will happen,” said Lead Republican McCaul.

“Diplomacy and development are critical tools for advancing American foreign policy and national security. Today’s bipartisan legislation gets us back on the right track to strengthen and support the important work that America’s diplomats carry out every day on behalf of our country. We hope to see this bill passes quickly in House and that the Senate takes it up. And we are proud that today is the first step in making a State Department authorization a regular part of Congress’s business,” said Chairman Engel. 

Background: The last State Department Authorization Act to be passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee was in September 2013. It has been 17 years since a State Department authorization was signed in law.  

The State Department Authorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3352) contains various provisions to strengthen the management and operations of the Department of State, including to recruit and retain a diverse workforce, bolster embassy and information security, and improve the Department’s capacity to carry out public diplomacy, anti-corruption activities, and security assistance, among other provisions.  The bill authorizes activities and positions in a number of key Department bureaus and offices, and authorizes funding for Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance.