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Washington, D.C.—Representatives Michael McCaul, Republican Leader of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Eliot Engel, the Committee’s Ranking Member, today applauded the passage of the Eliot L. Engel State Department Authorization Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“The bipartisan State Department Authorization bill provides needed reforms to better support our diplomats, streamline our embassy construction process, and save taxpayer dollars by cutting burdensome, outdated mandates at the Department. I hope the Senate will act quickly on this bill so these much-needed reforms make it to the president’s desk. It is only fitting that this year’s bill is named for Chairman Engel as a tribute to his decades of service in Congress and on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It has truly been an honor to serve alongside my friend, the Chairman,” said Republican Leader McCaul.
“Diplomacy and development are critical pillars of our foreign policy and national security—and it should be part of Congress’s regular work to authorize the State Department, the agency charged with those responsibilities,” said Chairman Engel. “This is why Ranking Member McCaul and I worked so hard last July to pass the first State Department authorization bill out of the House since 2013. Including the State Department authorization bill in this year’s NDAA helps reinvigorate the role Congress should be playing—but has long abdicated—to regularly authorize America’s diplomatic efforts. It also sends a clear message to our diplomats: we know your work is critical and we have your backs. I’m honored and humbled that my colleagues chose to put my name on such an important piece of legislation. We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to see that these provisions become law.”
The NDAA amendment authored by Engel and McCaul contained the key provisions from their State Department Authorization Act legislation passed unanimously by the House in July 2019. That authorization bill was the first such legislation to pass the House of Representatives since 2013.
The State Department Authorization NDAA amendment includes provisions to strengthen the management and operations of the Department of State. This includes measures to recruit and retain a diverse workforce, bolster embassy and information security, and improve the Department’s capacity to carry out public diplomacy and anti-corruption activities.
The bill authorizes activities and positions in a number of key Department bureaus and offices, and authorizes funding for Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance account. Among other things, this bill also streamlines and improves the Department’s management structure, providing cost-saving measures in embassy construction while maintaining security and eliminating duplicative programs and outdated reports.
Additionally, it ensures the efficiency of various programs by mandating rigorous planning processes and evaluation metrics.
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