Frankel, Weber Provision to Protect Americans Abroad Passes Congress
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congress passed the Department of State Authorities Act for Fiscal Year 2017, including a critical embassy security provision, authored by Representatives Lois Frankel (FL-22) and Randy Weber (TX-14). The measure allows the State Department to use best-value contracting, the flexibility to consider factors beyond just cost, when hiring security firms to protect our diplomats and embassy personnel abroad.
In early 2013, Frankel attended her first hearing of the Foreign Affairs Committee, in which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified on the tragic attack in Benghazi that killed four brave Americans. Clinton pointed out an arcane technicality that required the State Department to award security guard contracts to the cheapest bidder. Teaming up with colleagues from across the aisle, Frankel embarked on an effort to allow the State Department to consider other factors, such as past performance, reliability, and quality of service.
“Protecting our diplomats and embassy personnel who serve our country overseas is a moral imperative and a national security necessity,” Frankel said. “In these times of violence in the world, I am proud of this bipartisan effort that will allow us to better protect Americans serving abroad.”
“There are 15,000 Americans who selflessly serve our country overseas. Many of those places are in dangerous pockets of the world,” said Weber. “The least the government can do is invest in the best security possible-- ensuring these men and women can work without fear for their safety. I am pleased the House and the Senate passed this important legislation, and I encourage the President to quickly sign this bill into law.”
Since 2014, Frankel and Weber have successfully inserted their provision into annual spending bills. Today’s passage of the Department of State Authorities Act for Fiscal Year 2017 is significant because it makes permanent law the State Department’s authority to use best-value contracting for security guards at all diplomatic posts.
Contact: Rachel Huxley-Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-258-0743