For the first time in six years, Lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) successfully passed the State Department Authorization Act out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Wednesday the House will consider the bill on the floor. The historic reforms in the State Department Authorization Act, which passed the Committee unanimously, will streamline programs and offices at the Department of State, protect taxpayer dollars and hold the Department accountable, bolster embassy and information security, and better support our diplomats around the world. Importantly, it asserts Congress' Constitutional Article I authority to give direction to the Department. Committee Republicans applauded the bill ahead of the vote on the House floor:
"I want to thank Chairman Engel and Ranking Member McCaul for their hard work to put forth a bi-partisan State Department authorization bill. This legislation will put us one step closer to enacting an authorization for the State Department for the first time since 2002 when Henry Hyde was Chair of our committee. This is something that I think we can all we proud of," said Congressman Steve Chabot (OH-01).
"I applaud Chairman Engel and Lead Republican McCaul for their leadership in passing a clean State Department Authorization bill out of committee for the first time since 2002. Every member of the committee knows just how crucial the State Department is to our national security. The Department is the face of America abroad. Through its work, the United States secures its interests across the globe and helps our allies and partners improve their own capabilities and face their own threats on a better footing. I'm grateful to have met some of our diplomats and State Department personnel both here in Washington and abroad. They are some of America's finest, and by passing the State Authorization bill the committee sends them a clear message: we support and appreciate you," said Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02).
"This bipartisan authorization is a major step that will ultimately save taxpayer dollars by streamlining costly, outdated programs and implementing measures to improve efficiency across the Department. It has been six years since the Foreign Affairs Committee has passed a comprehensive State Department authorization bill, and, as Vice Ranking Member of the Committee, I am pleased that we were able to come together to pass legislation that will advance our diplomatic priorities and better serve American citizens and our allies," said Congresswoman Ann Wagner (MO-02).
"The passage of the State Department Authorization Act is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when Republicans and Democrats come together and do what is right for the country. Providing the State Department with the funding and tools they need to foster American foreign policy around the world is paramount. I want to thank Chairman Engel and Lead Republican McCaul for their leadership in seeing this authorization passed out of committee," said Congressman Ted Yoho (FL-03).
"As a veteran, I understand the need for strong American leadership on the world stage, both militarily and diplomatically. I firmly believe that our foreign service agencies, like State Department and USAID, are the unsung heroes of conflict mitigation," said Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-16). "I have seen firsthand how their work supports our allies by reducing poverty, promoting democracy, and maintaining regional stability. I am pleased that the Foreign Affairs Committee passed the State Department Authorization Act with such overwhelming bipartisan support, and I look forward to the President signing this into law soon."
"It's Congress' responsibility to provide our nation's State Department with a clear and consistent authorization and its diplomats the tools they need to continue to advance American exceptionalism around the world. The Committee is now reaffirming its commitment to the department on a bipartisan basis, which was long overdue," said Congressman Lee Zeldin (NY-01).
"As a former U.S. Ambassador, I have first-hand experience on the key role that the State Department and diplomacy plays in protecting U.S. national security and advancing American interests abroad. This State Department Reauthorization Act makes key updates to ensure that our diplomats have the best tools at their disposal. After 6 years without a comprehensive reauthorization, this marks an important turning point and I am grateful to my colleagues on the Committee for their support," said Congressman Francis Rooney (FL-19).
"I'm proud to join with House Foreign Affairs Committee colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass the "State Department Authorization Act" for the first time since 2013. Not only does it strengthen the management and operations of the Department of State, it represents good-faith, bipartisan lawmaking we can all be proud of," said Congressman John Curtis (UT-03).
"Protecting our nation's diplomats and promoting American interests and values abroad are shared interests of both Republicans and Democrats," said Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01). "I am proud to be a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee due to its strong record of results and sustained commitment to bipartisanship. The Committee's unanimous package of the State Department Authorization Act is indicative of this. I am grateful to Chairman Engel and Ranking Member McCaul for their leadership on this issue, and support its immediate House passage."
"I want to congratulate Chairman Engel and Lead Republican McCaul on the passing of the State Department Authorization Act out of committee. I know this has been a long time coming and their hard work is much appreciated. Among other things, this piece of legislation contains my bill, the Energy Diplomacy Act, which elevates energy foreign policy issues at the State Department. Bi-partisan support of the Energy Diplomacy Act will help advance US energy interest abroad and help our nation compete with Russia and China on a global scale," said Congressman Ron Wright (TX-06).
"I am proud to be a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, as we bring to the House floor the first comprehensive Department of State authorization bill in six years. We must ensure we are providing our diplomats with the resources necessary to represent America's interests abroad, and to maintain peace and security throughout the world. This reauthorization demonstrates our committee's commitment to supporting the State Department and their important mission," said Congressman Greg Pence (IN-06).
"With this comprehensive State Department authorization, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has demonstrated its commitment to bipartisanship," said Congressman Reschenthaler (PA-14). "I was proud to work on legislation included in this authorization, such as the Diplomatic Personnel Modernization Act as well as an amendment to update the administrative leave capabilities for those serving in combat zones or other high-threat posts. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure the State Department has the tools they need to advance American foreign policy and strengthen our national security."
"I would like to congratulate Chairman Engel and Ranking Member McCaul as the House brings to the floor the State Department Authorization Act for the first time in 6 years. This bill allows our diplomats to advance our pro-American agenda of peace and stability abroad and secure our national interests. Additionally, I am pleased that the Chairman and Ranking Member included a provision to block the purchase of artwork valued over $50,000 by embassies without congressional approval. Though more must be done to reign in unnecessary spending, this is a step in the right direction," said Congressman Tim Burchett (TN-02).
"I am pleased to join my colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee in passing The Department of State Authorization Act of 2019. Ensuring efficiency and accountability are the cornerstone of good governance. This legislation will save U.S taxpayer money by streamlining and improving State Department Programming and mandating rigorous success measuring metrics," said Congressman Steve Watkins (KS-02).
"I am pleased that the House Foreign Affairs Committee has prioritized reauthorizing these important programs at the Department of State. These programs help protect American interests around the world; secure our nation against foreign threats; and ensure that the United States remains a nation that promotes peace, democracy, and prosperity across the globe," said Congressman Michael Guest (MS-03).