Bureau of Legislative Affairs
The Bureau of Legislative Affairs is the office of the United States Department of State that coordinates legislative activity for the Department of State and advises the Secretary, the Deputy, as well as the Under Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries on legislative strategy. The Bureau facilitates effective communication between State Department officials and the Members of Congress and their staffs. The Bureau works closely with authorizing, appropriations, and oversight committees of the House and Senate, as well as with individual Members that have an interest in State Department or foreign policy issues. The Bureau manages Department testimony before House and Senate hearings, organizes Member and staff briefings, and facilitates Congressional travel to overseas posts for Members and staff throughout the year. The Bureau reviews proposed legislation and coordinates Statements of Administration Policy on legislation affecting the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. The Bureau staff advises individual Bureaus of the Department on legislative and outreach strategies and coordinates those strategies with the Secretary's priorities.
The Secretary of State is the principal Congressional Relations Officer of the Department. The Bureau supports the Secretary by ensuring that the administration's foreign policy priorities are reflected throughout the legislative process. The Bureau coordinates the annual testimony provided by the Secretary to Congressional committees with jurisdiction over State programs to explain Department priorities and budget requirements. The bureau succeeds in its overall mission by seeking passage of relevant foreign policy legislation and appropriations, obtaining advice and consent to treaties, as well as confirmation of the President's Departmental and Ambassadorial nominees by the Senate.
The Assistant Secretary advises the Secretary of State on legislative matters, directs the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, and acts as the Department's principal liaison with the Congress. Julia Frifield has served as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs since 2013.
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