Frankel Provision to Protect Americans Abroad Passes House Panel
Included in major permanent State Department reauthorization bill
Today, a provision authored by Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-22) that would let the State Department use best-value contracting for security at our diplomatic posts passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Best-value contracting allows the State Department to consider factors beyond just price in hiring local guard firms. Frankel’s measure is part of the Department of State Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act, which now goes to the House floor for a vote.
“We owe this safeguard to our brave, smart, and patriotic diplomats who represent America overseas,” Frankel said. “In a true bipartisan manner, the Committee reaffirmed that these troubling times call for the best protections for Americans serving abroad.”
Previously, when awarding contracts to local guard firms, the State Department was required to hire the firm offering the lowest price, regardless of its past performance, reliability, or quality of service. In contrast, the Department was allowed to use best-value contracting for other services like janitorial and landscaping. Frankel’s provision corrects this unreasonable discrepancy by allowing the State Department to take into account important factors in selecting local guards to protect our diplomatic posts abroad.
This measure has the support of the American Foreign Service Association and is identical to one Frankel previously introduced with Rep. Randy Weber (TX-14), which passed as part of the Fiscal Year 2016 spending bill in December. Including this provision in the Department of State authorization would make it permanent and not subject to the annual government funding process.