H.R. 2848: Department of State Operations and Embassy Security Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2014

H.R. 2848

Department of State Operations and Embassy Security Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2014

Sponsor
Rep. Ed Royce

Date
September 28, 2013 (113th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Saturday, September 28, 2013 the House will consider H.R. 2848, the Department of State Operations and Embassy Security Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2014,under a suspension of the rules.  The bill was introduced on July 30, 2013 by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, which ordered the bill reported by unanimous consent. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 2848 authorizes overall reduced appropriations for the Department of State at fiscally responsible levels, while fully funding critical embassy security enhancements. Included in this authorization and in concert with both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, is $2.65 billion for embassy security, which includes $1.383 billion in capital cost sharing for new embassy facilities where current facilities do not meet security standards, and $101 million for embassy security upgrades.

This bill prioritizes the improvement of U.S. facilities in high risk areas and requires the State Department to designate “high risk, high threat” posts for purposes of enhanced contingency planning and training. The State Department will be required to ensure that these posts have sufficient funding, in line with the post-Benghazi Accountability Review Board (ARB) recommendations.

This legislation also requires the State Department to conduct a review of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security to ensure that it is meeting the security needs of overseas facilities, and allows the State Department to award contracts based upon value over cost. Moreover, it authorizes funding for an additional 156 Marine Corps Security Guards (MSG) and the construction of 26 new Marine-operated access points at high-risk posts.

Finally, the bill allows the Secretary to suspend without pay Foreign Service Officers who are “credibly accused of a crime”, and caps the amount of locality pay that Foreign Service Officers are able to receive while stationed overseas.

Background

The last State Department authorization was enacted in 2002.  This bill will remedy that 11-year lapse, during which Departmental budgets have grown unsupervised, and reassert critical Congressional oversight leverage.  H.R. 2848 authorizes funding levels approximately 9% ($1.4 billion) below the levels appropriated in FY 2012 and 2013. This includes an approximate 22% cut ($2.4 billion) for Diplomatic and Consular Programs.  This legislation was drafted as a result of numerous Committee oversight hearings.

Cost

The CBO estimates this legislation would “have discretionary costs of $14.6 billion over the 2014-2018 period, assuming the appropriation of the specified and estimated amounts.”[1] 

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.