The Foreign Service Journal - November 2017

60 NOVEMBER 2017 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson (right) with Karla Gonzalez, deputy chief of mission of the Embassy of Panama inWashington, D.C. They first met when, as ambassador to Panama, Amb. Stephenson awarded Ms. Gonzalez a Fulbright scholarship to study at Harvard University. AFSA/GEMMADVORAK Continued from p. 59 Supporting U.S. Policy Objectives in Congress As we go to press, Con- gress continues work on three issues important to us: appropriations, autho- rization, and the proposed redesign of the Department of State and USAID. Both chambers rejected the dra- conian cuts the administra- tion proposed. The House passed an appropriations bill and is waiting for the full Senate to vote on its bill before meeting in conference. The Senate bill would appropri- ate $51.2 billion, which is $1.9 billion below the 2017 level, $10.7 billion above the administration’s request, and $3.8 billion more than the House. Meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Rela- tions Committee passed an authorization bill and is seeking floor time. Both the House and the Senate are engaging with the State Department about the proposed redesign. There is broad support to help State do things that make it more efficient, such as providing better IT, and there is conviction that any redesign should support U.S. foreign policy objec- tives. At a September 26 House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing with the Deputy Secretary of State, representatives emphasized the need to have diplomats on the ground to prevent conflict and persuade gov- ernments to join sanctions regimes. “Where we depart,” Chair- man Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said, “we create a void for unfriendly actors to step in and promote interests hos- tile to our interests. Where there is a diplomatic void we have no eyes, we have no ears to detect the next threat.” So often, members’ impressions come from the Foreign Service people they meet abroad. At the HFAC hearing, Congressman Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) talked about the “first class” Foreign Service people he met on a recent trip to Europe, how skillful they were, and how proud he was of their dedi- cation. Nothing helps the Foreign Service more than expand- ing the universe of those who understand what we do, how well we do it, and why what we do matters to the United States. — Mary Daly, Director of Advocacy and Speechwriting AFSA ON THE HILL AFSA NEWS Karla Gonzalez, deputy chief of mission for the Embassy of Panama in Washington D.C., recalled receiving a Fulbright scholarship from Amb. Stephenson in Panama when Stephenson was U.S. ambassador there from 2008 to 2010. The Nationals won the game 11-10, with a rare inside-the-park grand slam—only the second in the team’s history—set up by Nats center fielder Michael A. Taylor. The follow- ing weekend the Nationals won the National League East title for the second year running. Speaking after the game, Amb. Stephenson was enthusiastic about the occasion, calling it “a fan- tastic community-building opportunity for the Foreign Service.” “It was especially fun to see Foreign Service kids—some born abroad— experiencing their very first baseball game,” she said. “It’s always good to be able to reconnect with home, and the grand slam didn’t hurt!” Q