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Public Statements

Department of State Operations and Embassy Security Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. JACKSON LEE. I want to thank the chairman and the ranking member for the great work on an issue that so many of us have noted and advocated for over the years.

As a former member of this committee during the time of the Democratic majority, I still continue to have a great sense of the importance of the work. Having traveled to a number of countries and engaged with our diplomatic staff and the State Department, let me put on the record the crucial work that our diplomatic corps--our diplomat staff, the staff at the State Department, the Secretary of State--does and is engaged in for the safety and security of the American people. Their work is vital. They are partners with the defense; but more importantly, they are partners for reconciliation and coming together. It is evident by their great work of where we are in Syria, along with the President, and of course, most recently, some of the outreach that has gone on with Iran.

But my main point for speaking today is, having physically visited a number of the diplomatic sites in high-risk and high-threat posts, I am ecstatic about this legislation that provides a matrix, along with working groups for security measures and funding, along with the review of a diplomatic security, with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy, which, when I went to oversee the Algerian election, they were very much involved, as they are and as they were in Egypt, and as they were in many other places where there are difficult circumstances. And then of course to be able to enhance security for the diplomatic staff and security, to protect the civilian, but also the military. Our marines are very able, as those who are there at posts; they provide enhanced security for those particular posts.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.

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Ms. JACKSON LEE. One of the things that I am most excited about--and I thank the author of the amendment--and that is the issue of best value for security. That is a crucial bipartisan agreement that makes common sense; that on the security of our men and women who leave these shores to be instruments of peace, diplomatic engagement, and be the face of the American people in very difficult posts--whether it's Iraq, Afghanistan, or whether it may be Egypt, whether it may be Pakistan, and other places beyond--that it is our duty to ensure that the posts that they are in have the highest level of security quality, both from technology and also from the physical bricks and mortar.

So I rise today because I wanted to first acknowledge the valiant service of all of those who have served. I also want to make note of those who we have lost, who have served in the diplomatic corps in places far beyond our borders, and to thank them and thank those who serve in the State Department and who are serving as we speak; and the United States Marines, who across the world secure these very valiant public servants.

I support the legislation.

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