Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

By:  Howard Berman
Date: July 17, 2012
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in strong support of H.R. 6018, the Fiscal Year 2013 Foreign Relations Authorization Act.

This bill establishes the basis for our Embassies to function and our diplomats to promote U.S. national interests around the world. It provides some of the authorities and resources our State Department needs to promote peaceful international cooperation, protect U.S. national security, and demonstrate the values and principles that define us as a nation.

All around the world, our foreign and civil service officers operate on the front lines of the fight against global terrorism, putting their lives at risk to protect the lives of innocents. By shortchanging our diplomats, we only increase the likelihood of armed confrontation. Skillful diplomacy is also essential for opening foreign markets to American goods and services, which promotes economic growth and creates jobs here at home.

On balance, I do support this bill. It's not perfect. The authorization numbers are well below the FY13 requested levels, lower than what I think is needed to exert strong and effective global leadership, and in a perfect world, I would have preferred a more comprehensive bill that authorizes the full range of our global activities. But the distinguished chairman and her staff have worked with us diligently over the past few weeks to make the changes necessary to arrive at a text that we can wholeheartedly support, so I thank the chairman for her hard work on the bill and for the comity and respect she demonstrated throughout the process.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill and reserve the balance of my time.


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