WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today applauded committee passage of the fiscal year 2018 State Department authorization bill. This is the third year in a row that the committee has successfully passed an authorization bill for the department. Legislation combining the fiscal year 2016 and 2017 authorization bills was enacted last year, marking the first time in 14 years that an authorization for the State Department became law.
“One of my top priorities as chairman has been to ensure taxpayer dollars are used in the most efficient manner to advance American interests,” said Senator Corker. “For the third consecutive year, the committee has passed an authorization bill on a bipartisan basis that strengthens oversight and improves how the State Department functions. This legislation speeds up construction of safer embassies at reduced cost to taxpayers, requires confirmation of special envoys while empowering the secretary to rein in these often unnecessary and duplicative positions, and ensures Congress will play a productive role in the reorganization of the department. It also better protects State’s computer networks from hackers, improves the security of classified information, and seeks to make public diplomacy more effective. I thank my colleagues for their important contributions to this effort.”
“Today’s passage fulfills one of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s primary oversight responsibilities, supporting our national security and U.S. diplomats in their missions at home and overseas. The legislation advances our nation’s interests and helps provide important support and guidance for the State Department during a critical and uncertain period, especially as it relates to the Administration’s ongoing attempt to reorganize and potentially handicap the Department,” said Senator Cardin. “In particular, I am pleased that the bill contains some of my most important priorities including fighting corruption, promoting diversity efforts so the Department better reflects America, expressing Congress’ intent about USAID’s status, and clarifying the role special envoys play in carrying out our policies and expressing our values. I thank the Chairman and my colleagues for their ideas and for their work on this legislation.”
Text of the legislation is available online here.