House to vote on first State Dept. authorization bill in 10 years

For example, the bill officially authorizes the establishment of a Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) at the Department of State, something that President Obama authorized by executive order last year. The office is means to coordinate a public communications program against terrorism.

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It also creates a new office at State to work on global cybersecurity issues, according to a summary of the bill. The Coordinator for Cyber Issues would have to submit a strategy on how the United States will engage with other nations on cyber issues.

The legislation makes significant changes to export-control policy. It eases some rules, for example, by giving the president authority to remove communications satellites and components from the U.S. Munitions List. It raises the monetary thresholds above which Congress has the option of reviewing the sale of arms under the Arms Export Control Act.

But it also tightens some rules, including by requiring the president to provide advance notice to Congress about proposed government-to-government arms sales that will have to be notified to Congress, and requiring the president to monitor the end-use of certain munitions exports.

Republicans will call up the bill under a suspension of House rules this week, which will require a two-thirds majority vote for passage. However, that threshold seems likely, as the bill was approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee in June by voice vote.

During that committee markup, committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) welcomed the authorization bill after so many years without one.

"Despite significant efforts by this committee, the Department of State has not been authorized for nearly a decade," she said. "The last authorization bill to become law — co-authored by our esteemed former Chairmen Henry Hyde and Tom Lantos — was enacted in September of 2002."