State Department Authorization Bill Introduced

“Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders John Kerry, D-MA, and Richard Lugar, R-IN, introduced a State Department policy bill for both fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011” on Friday, Foreign Policy’s blog, “The Cable,” reports. The full text of the bill and a fact sheet are available on the blog (Rogin, 1/29).

A press release from Sens. Kerry and Lugar outlines the bill’s aims, which include authorizing programs for USAID, strengthening accountability offices at the State Department and USAID, and making changes to the Millennium Challenge Corporation (1/29).

It is unclear whether this authorization bill “will become the vehicle for the Kerry-Lugar foreign aid reform bill that their committee marked up in November,” according to the “The Cable.” “That legislation has very different ideas of how to structure USAID than what’s expected to come out of the two main reviews related to U.S. development policy, State’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review and the NSC’s Presidential Study Directive on Global Development,” according to the blog.

In a statement, Kerry said, “This is precisely the moment when our investment in diplomacy is most needed and this bill provides our diplomatic corps with essential tools, authorities and resources to succeed in the tough jobs we continually require of them.” The blog also includes recent statements by Lugar and Anne-Marie Slaughter, the State Department’s director of Policy Planning, about the relationship between diplomacy and development (1/29).

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