Kerry and Lugar Introduce State Department Authorization Bill

January 29, 2010 By Matt Corso

Today, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and Ranking Member Richard Lugar (R-IN) introduced the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011. This authorization bill would “provide authority, policy guidance, and operational oversight to the State Department.” 

Last year, under the direction of House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA), the House passed a similar bill (H.R. 2410). Should a final bill make it out of the Senate, it would be the first time since 2002 Congress has passed a State Department authorization bill. 

In expressing their support for America’s diplomatic and development programs, Chairman Kerry stated, “If the first decade of the twenty-first century taught us anything about national security, it is that we require more than a strong military to meet our global challenges – diplomacy is an essential element of our national power.” Ranking Member Lugar noted, “Whether protecting our nation by combating terrorism, helping American companies find new markets overseas, or assisting American citizens during natural disasters, these men and women help make our country stronger and safer.”

In a press release, both Kerry and Lugar outlined the key components of the State Authorization bill. Highlights include:

  • Authorizing vital programs in support of the Foreign Service, both at State and USAID;
  • Strengthening the Offices of Inspector General at both State and USAID;
  • Improving the State Department’s public diplomacy mission; and
  • Allowing the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to develop concurrent and subsequent compacts.