WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding final passage of the Department of State Authorities Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (S.1635):
“For the first time since 2002, a State Department authorization is headed to the President’s desk. And though it’s long past due, this legislation will help modernize the Department and ensure our diplomats have the tools and resources they need to do their jobs. They’ve earned our support. Diplomats are the front line of America’s foreign policy. Their efforts prevent conflict and defuse crises before they boil over.
“That’s why this bill has our diplomats at its core. It will make it easier for our diplomats abroad do their important work by enhancing their security and that of their families. At the same time, it will help the Department build a more capable workforce that mirrors America’s own richness and diversity, specifically by expanding paid fellowships for underrepresented groups.
“Passage of this bill also sends a clear message that we need to leave diplomacy to our diplomats. Over the years, Congress has placed more and more traditionally diplomatic roles in the hands of the military, partly because we pass a Defense Authorization every year without fail. Passing a State Department Authorization should be part of how we do business, and when the 115th Congress gavels in, we should get to work on next year’s effort.
“I want to thank my House and Senate colleagues for getting this bill across the finish line, especially Senators Corker and Cardin, and my partner on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman Ed Royce. I look forward to the President signing this bill.”
The State Department Authorities Act passed in the House earlier this week by a vote of 374-16, and passed by unanimous consent in the Senate last night.