April 26, 2010

Senate Foreign Relations Committee To Mark Up And Vote On Legislation That Will Strengthen U.S. Diplomacy

Washington, D.C.-Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and Ranking Member Dick Lugar (R-IN) will mark up the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010-11(S.2971) at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27, in Room S-116 of the U.S. Capitol. The mark up will authorize funding levels for the State Department and related accounts and demonstrate the strong commitment of Congress for our diplomatic and foreign policy priorities.

“Marking up the Foreign Relations Authorization Act is an important milestone for the Committee,” said Chairman Kerry. “This is the first time since 2005 that we have brought such a comprehensive bill this far along in the process. This legislation demonstrates our commitment to a strong, capable, and well-funded diplomatic corps that can stand side-by-side with our military to meet our national security priorities and foreign policy challenges.”

The Foreign Relations Committee has not passed an authorization bill for the State Department since 2005. The legislation includes important increases to our diplomatic corps, provides vital funds and resources to international organizations, addresses critical pay equity issues for Foreign Service officers, and enhances our public diplomacy and consular efforts.

This action caps a busy legislative calendar that has seen the Committee pass bills on foreign aid reform, World Bank funding contributions, tropical forest and coral reef protection, and reauthorization of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. A list of these legislative highlights is included below:

Legislation Passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

S. 1524 – Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009: bipartisan Kerry-Lugar legislation authorizes a policy framework for rebuilding strategic and policy capacity, increasing accountability, and modernizing human resources at U.S. foreign assistance agencies.

S. 705 – Overseas Private Investment Corporation Reauthorization Act of 2009: reauthorizes the OPIC and strengthens the agency's development mandate to ensure its activities are consistent with U.S. foreign policy objectives.

S. 954 – World Bank International Development Association Replenishment Act of 2009: authorizes 3-year contribution of $3.7 billion to replenish the World Bank’s International Development Association, which funds programs and activities for the poorest countries in the world.

S. 955 - African Development Fund Replenishment Act of 2009: authorizes 3-year contribution of $486 million to replenish the African Development Fund, which funds programs and activities for low-income African countries.

S. 345 – Tropical Forest and Coral Conservation Act of 2009: reauthorizes legislation to protect tropical forests and coral reefs by forgiving debts owed the U.S. by developing countries in exchange for the forest and coral reef preservation.

Legislation Introduced During the 111th Congress:

S. 2971 – Foreign Relations Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011: authorizes funding, programs and policies for the State Department and related agencies.

S. 3193 - International Cyberspace and Cybersecurity Act of 2010: strengthens U.S. engagement on international cyber issues by authorizing a senior coordinator at the State Department, with the rank of Ambassador, responsible for providing strategic direction for cyberspace and cybersecurity issues overseas.

S. 3210 - Embassy Design and Security Act of 2010: establishes a design excellence program in order to advance a new generation of secure, high-performance, sustainable embassies, diplomatic and consular facilities in support of United States diplomacy.

S. 3229 - Sustainable Urban Development Act of 2010:directs the U.S. Agency for International Development to develop a strategy to foster sustainable urban development and tackle pressing urban management and slum upgrading issues in the world’s poorest countries.