Meijer offers bipartisan bill to modernize State Dept.

To address growing challenges to U.S. diplomacy, U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) on July 27 unveiled bipartisan legislation that would modernize and reform the U.S. State Department.

“The State Department is an essential component in the United States’ role abroad,” Rep. Meijer said, “but unfortunately, the department has remained unchanged for decades, hindering its ability to meet the evolving needs of the U.S. diplomatic strategy.” 

Rep. Meijer sponsored the Commission on Reform and Modernization of the Department of State Act, H.R. 8536, with lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA). H.R. 8536 is the companion bill to the same-named S. 3491, introduced on Jan. 12 by U.S. Sens. Bill Haggerty (R-TN) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) in their chamber.

If enacted, the bill would establish a commission in the legislative branch to examine the changing nature of diplomacy in the 21st century and ways that the State Department and its personnel can modernize to advance the interests of the United States, and offer recommendations on the department’s organizational structure, personnel-related matters and global diplomatic footprint, according to the text of the bill.

Members of the commission would be appointed by leadership from both parties in both houses of Congress, by the chairman and ranking member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, and by the chairman and ranking member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“This commission will provide the necessary input and insight to both modernize and strengthen the department,” said Rep. Meijer. “I am grateful to my colleagues in the Senate and to my colleague on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Jacobs, for their work on this bicameral, bipartisan approach to ensure the U.S. remains a leader in diplomacy.”

“Our bipartisan legislation will be an important first step in investigating our diplomatic corps, protecting our national security, and empowering the State Department to address the challenges of the future, not the past,” Rep. Jacobs said.