By The Numbers: State Department Congressional Response 2015

Posted: 1:39  am EDT
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This past January, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Julia Frifield appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (HOGR) to testify on the State Department’s response to Congressional requests for documents in 2015. Below is extracted from her prepared testimony (PDF):

160,000 pages: provided to the Committee for its investigation of embassy construction

6,000 pages: provided to the Committee on the Jakarta New Embassy Compound

5,000 constituent cases: response provided to members of Congress – everything from lost passports to missing constituents overseas to helping with visas for constituents’ family members.

2,500 briefings: provided to the Hill on foreign policy issues

2,137 Consular Notifications pages: provided to the Committee on overseas construction

1,700 Congressional letters: provided response to congressional inquiries

536: Congressional Member and staff delegation trips abroad.

168 Hearings: Congressional hearings where State Department officials appeared in 2015

21 staffers:  people dedicated to processing documents with support from new legal and information technology personnel for the Congressional Document Production Branch.

9 Investigations: currently with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that the State Department is working on

1 Congressional Document Production Branch: new unit created at the State Department to “enabling us to respond to more committees simultaneously than ever before.”





U.S. Senate Confirms Julia Frifield as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs (H)

— By Domani Spero

On October 16, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Julia Frifield – to be an Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs. The WH released the following brief bio when President Obama announced her nomination on July 18, 2013:

Julia Frifield is Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, a position she has held since 2004.  She served as Senator Mikulski’s Legislative Director from 1999 to 2004 and Legislative Assistant from 1995 to 1999.  Previously, Ms. Frifield was a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Harris Wofford from 1992 to 1995.  From 1989 to 1992, Ms. Frifield worked for U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, first as a Legislative Correspondent and then as Special Assistant.  Ms. Frifield received a B.A. from Smith College and an M.A. from Cambridge University.

The Cable noted back in July that Secretary Kerry  technically poached Frifield away from Mikulski, but that the hire was amicably arranged last spring.

“I want someone who has been chief of staff to someone like Barbara,” Kerry said at the time. “Or why don’t we just recruit Barbara’s chief of staff — if she’ll let me.”

The Bureau of Legislative Affairs (H) coordinates legislative activity for the Department of State and advises the Secretary, the Deputy, as well as the Under Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries on legislative strategy. H also facilitates effective communication between State Department officials and the Members of Congress and their staffs. This was an excellent pick not just because of her long experience in Congress but because for almost 10 years, Ms. Frifield was the chief of staff for Senator Barb, the Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Ms. Frifield succeeds David S. Adams who was appointed to this position in August 2011. Previously Adams was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for House Affairs. But prior to coming to State, he served for 24 years on the staff of Gary L. Ackerman a member of the United States House who sat in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr. Adams in now a principal at the Podesta Group.