Washington, DC – The House Foreign Affairs Committee today approved comprehensive legislation to shore up U.S. foreign policy efforts, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 (H.R. 2410).
“For far too long, we have failed to provide the State Department with the resources it needs to fill critical overseas posts, provide adequate training, and ensure effective oversight of the programs that it manages,” Committee Chairman Howard L. Berman (D-CA) said. “With the expansion of U.S. diplomatic responsibilities in the 1990’s and the more recent demands of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Foreign Service has been strained to the breaking point. We simply must supply the needed resources now.”
Under this legislation, 1500 additional people could join the Foreign Service over the next two years. The bill also contains provisions on recruitment and training of officers to improve the Foreign Service’s ability to respond to modern challenges. It requires the State Department to conduct a quadrennial review of its policies and programs that defines objectives, budget requirements and how these programs fit into the President’s national security strategy.
Among other significant measures in the bill are provisions that:
After learning that Administration intends to end the practice of excluding the committed partners of Foreign Service officers from the benefits routinely provided to the spouses and children of officers serving abroad, a provision on this issue was removed from the bill.
"I am deeply committed to ending the long-standing practice of treating the committed partners of gay and lesbian Foreign Service officers like second-class citizens,” Berman said. “I would not agree to strike a provision in my own bill if I did not feel confident that this would be taken care of by the Administration.”