WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) issued the following statement after his six Amendments were included in the House’s National Defense Authorization Act for FY22. The House is expected to vote on the final bill tonight.
The amendments reflect Congressman Lieu’s diverse policy priorities including ensuring the West LA VA can use easement funds for homeless veteran housing and extending the prohibition of mid-air refueling of coalition aircraft in Yemen. This year’s NDAA also includes Rep. Lieu’s language to create an Office of City and State Diplomacy at the State Department, which had passed the House in 2020 but was stripped in conference. Additionally, this NDAA will include Congressman Lieu’s bill to create a pilot program to look at how scent detection dogs can help the U.S. respond to emerging diseases like COVID-19; his bill to reform Assignment Restrictions practices at the State Department in light of potential discriminatory application of the policy; and his bill to enable ethical hackers to help identify vulnerabilities in the State Department’s networks and data systems.
“I’m pleased my amendments have been included in the NDAA that the House will vote on soon,” Rep. Lieu said. “These amendments have local, national and international implications. From supporting our homeless veterans at the West LA VA to ensuring the U.S. Military is not aiding in committing war crimes, these amendments will benefit our communities big and small. I look forward to voting for this bill and continuing to advocate for policy priorities that help Americans and the world.”
Background on Rep. Lieu’s Amendments:
West LA VA Easements Amendment: Authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) to use any funds collected pursuant to leases, easements, civil asset forfeitures, or other use-agreements at the West LA VA for the development of supportive housing and services on campus for homeless veterans.
Yemen Refueling Prohibition Amendment: Extends an existing prohibition on mid-air refueling of non-U.S. aircraft participating in hostilities in the civil war in Yemen for two years.
City and State Diplomacy Amendment: Establishes an Office of City and State Diplomacy at the State Department and requires the appointment of a senior official to head the office. The amendmentoutlines the duties of the office, authorizes members of the civil service and Foreign Service to be detailed to city halls and state capitols to support their international engagement efforts, and requires a report to Congress followed by annual briefings on the work of the office.
COVID-19 Warrior Dog Amendment: Directs the Secretary of Defense to establish a pilot program to determine the effectiveness of using scent detection working dogs to detect the early stages of diseases, including COVID-19, and upon detection, to alert the handler of the dog.
Assignment Restrictions Amendment: Aims to reform the practice of Assignment Restrictions at the State Department. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) imposes Assignment Restrictions on some employees who otherwise hold Top Secret clearances, precluding them from serving in a particular country or working on issues related to that country in Washington. These restrictions are often discriminatory, biased, and counterproductive to the goals of diversity, inclusion, and retention of talent at the State Department
Hack Your State Department Amendment: Strengthens cyber defenses for the State Department by tapping ethical hackers to identify vulnerabilities in State Department’s networks and data systems. This program will rely on a bug bounty system where authorized hackers can enter a State Department system, identify and disclose weaknesses and receive compensation. Additionally, it will establish a Vulnerability Disclosure Program to field vulnerabilities reported by the general public.
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