Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on the removal of the State Department Authorization bill from the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act:

“After nearly two years of good-faith, bipartisan negotiation ending in a hard-won agreement, Congress was poised to pass the first State Department authorization legislation since 2003. So I’m profoundly disappointed that, at the last minute, this measure was stripped out of the Defense authorization.

“As I wrap up my time in Congress, I want to offer a bit of parting advice: if we are serious about American diplomacy as a foreign policy tool and if we want to do more than just pay lip service to our dedicated diplomats and other State Department personnel, we have to stop kicking this can down the road. The State Department needs reforms and support that only Congress can provide.

“This authorization should be a regular part of Congress’s work. It shouldn’t need to piggyback onto another Committee’s bill to stand a chance of making it across the finish line. It should be something that both houses and the administration want to see enacted. And I hope it will be a priority for the Biden Administration and the 117th Congress.”

# # #