WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee, applauded Congressional passage over the weekend of the first legislation to fund the State Department in 14 years.
The 2017 U.S. Department of State authorization bill provides for critical reforms to diplomatic programs and core operations of the State Department. The bill also includes embassy security provisions to improve protection of U.S. diplomatic facilities and Foreign Service personnel, important reforms of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations to address sexual exploitation and abuse, and critical support for diversity in hiring and retention programs that ensure the Department’s workforce reflects the best America has to offer.
“For the first time in 14 years Congress approved a bipartisan State Department authorization bill,” said Senator Cardin, “the first step in what I hope will be a return to regular order and a more robust congressional role in shaping our foreign policy in the years ahead. It is critical that Congress provides for a strong and vibrant Department of State and supports the hard work of our diplomatic and development professionals at a time when the stakes for America could not be higher worldwide. A fully authorized State Department is critical for U.S. national security and demonstrates that we can and will make smart investments to create a better, safer world.”