New bipartisan push comes as a stand-alone State Department authorization bill has not been signed into law since 2002
WASHINGTON – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-Idaho) today announced Committee passage of the Department of State Authorization Act of 2022, legislation to provide robust authorities for the management and operation of the State Department. Today’s Committee approval builds on the senators’ joint effort to conduct a regular review of State Department programs and practices, which began with last year’s passage of the first authorization bill in nearly two decades.
The Department of State Authorization Act of 2022 makes significant investments key to advancing U.S. national security and foreign affairs, including: modernizing our diplomatic corps and strengthening diverse recruitment and retention efforts; updating embassy security process and procedures at U.S. missions abroad; reforming hostage diplomacy to increase support for U.S. nationals detained abroad and their families; codifying into law the recently created Cyberspace and Digital Policy Bureau while expanding the Department’s cyber capabilities; and approving millions for internet freedom programs to bypass censorship and government blackouts around the world.
“I am incredibly proud to lead the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in making clear we are determined to reassert Congress’s role in shaping our nation’s foreign policy, including through making the tough choices of where we want to invest our diplomatic resources every year,” Chairman Menendez said. “After two decades of forgoing our responsibilities to pass a State Department Authorization bill, today we take a momentous step forward in recognition of the urgent need to modernize the State Department – one not only outfitted to better navigate today’s challenges but strengthened by a talented workforce reflective of the richness of our nation’s diversity. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that this bill is passed on the Senate Floor so we can continue rebuilding our nation’s diplomatic and national security capabilities.”
“Authorizing the State Department is one of the primary responsibilities of this committee. The authorization bill the committee passed today addresses critical challenges inhibiting effective management and diplomacy, and will save the American taxpayer billions of dollars over the next couple of decades,” said Ranking Member Risch. “I’m particularly excited to have my Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act and Diplomatic Support and Security Act included in the text. These bills together have the potential to make generational change at the State Department, pressing the Department to move away from risk avoidance, and towards allowing our diplomats to get out from embassy walls and back to the business of diplomacy and advancing America’s interests abroad.”