Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Gregory W. Meeks, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Michael McCaul, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following joint statement after the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s mark up of H.R. 1157, the Department of State Authorization Act of 2021:
“With the passage of this legislation, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has taken a critical step toward revitalizing the State Department and equipping it with the resources it needs to better conduct diplomacy in the 21st century. The COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder of the complex challenges facing the United States on the world stage and how important the work of our diplomats and development professionals is to protecting and advancing American citizens, interests, and values around the world.
“Supporting the State Department and its workforce must be central to the work of this Committee. This bipartisan bill is the first of many such efforts we hope to make in the 117th Congress to help ensure the State Department is effective, resilient, and reflective of the United States it represents abroad. This legislation will assert Congress’s constitutional Article I authority to give direction to the Department and will help save taxpayer dollars by modernizing programs. We hope to see this bill pass both chambers of Congress and be signed into law. It has been nearly two decades since Congress managed to pass an authorization bill for the Department of State—we owe it to the dedicated public servants at the State Department - and the American people- to ensure that, this time, we succeed.”
H.R. 1157 builds on bipartisan efforts in prior Congresses to develop and advance a State Department authorization bill. The bipartisan legislation focuses on strengthening the management and operations of the Department of State by:
- Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce;
- Bolstering embassy and information security;
- Improving flexibility, training, and other workplace policies for personnel; and
- Enhancing the Department’s capacity to carry out public diplomacy and anti-corruption activities.
The bill would also authorize activities and positions in several key Department bureaus and offices, as well as provide funding for its Diplomatic Programs and Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance initiatives.