Congress Sends President Obama First State Department Authorization in 14 Years

Posted: 1:21 am ET
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Last week, we blogged that S.1635 the State Department authorization bill was marching to the finish line (see S.1635 ‘Department of State Authorities Act Fiscal Year 2017’ Marches to the Finish Line). On Saturday, December 10, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved S.1635, legislation referred to the Senate earlier from the House of Representatives where lawmakers apparently incorporated provisions from State Department authorization bills for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 . This is the first State Department authorization bill sent by Congress to the President in 14 years. Below is the statement from SFRC Chairman Bob Corker:

U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today announced that for the first time in 14 years, a State Department authorization bill will be sent to the president’s desk to be signed into law. Today, the Senate unanimously approved S.1635, legislation referred to the Senate earlier this week from the House of Representatives where lawmakers incorporated provisions from State Department authorization bills for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, which were authored by Corker and Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), ranking member of the committee.

“Today, Congress ends a 14-year drought by finally sending a State Department authorization to the president,” said Corker. “Restoring Congress’ rightful role in the conduct of U.S. engagement overseas has been a top priority of mine as chairman. I thank Senator Cardin for his partnership and appreciate the bipartisan cooperation and contributions of my committee colleagues and our counterparts in the House in renewing this important oversight process on behalf of American taxpayers. Among other provisions, this legislation will enhance the security of our embassies abroad, improve personnel and organizational practices of the State Department, and demand much needed oversight and accountability of U.N. peacekeeping missions to end horrific cases of sexual abuse and exploitation. Going forward, I am hopeful we can build even further on this important progress to ensure State Department funding is used in the most responsible manner to advance American interests.”

A summary of S.1635 is available here or read it below:

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Whoa! Senate Passes @StateDept Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act, FY2016

Posted: 5:06 pm PT
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Our source on the Hill says a lot of folks missed in the excitement of Roberta Jacobson’s confirmation that the Senate also voted on the FY2016 State Department authorization bill.  We were told that a lot of folks were surprised to see the FY16 bill revived this late (yours truly included) in the fiscal year but that it was wrapped up in the deal that resulted in Rubio lifting his hold on Jacobson.

We actually did look up the FY2016 bill last night on congress.gov but it did not show the latest action when we blogged about the authorization bills. In any case, yes, S.1635 – Department of State Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act, Fiscal Year 2016 also passed the Senate with amendments by unanimous consent on April 28, 2016.  The topics under the related posts below remain in the FY2016 authorization bill. The FY2017 authorization bill that the SFRC passed yesterday is currently pending in the Senate.

Read below (please scroll) or click here from the Congressional Record.

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