International Affairs Budget
In addition to our traditional efforts to ensure adequate funding
for the foreign affairs agencies and pay equity for our members,
AFSA also actively advocated full funding of the Foreign Affairs
Security Training Center at Ft. Pickett, Virginia.
AFSA continued to monitor congressional efforts to improve
personnel security and educated members and staff about the
importance of balancing risk and diplomacy and about the vital
connection between personnel security and language and situa-
tion-relevant training. We also advocated the provision of addi-
tional resources for much-needed language training.
In July, we hosted Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of
the House Select Committee on Benghazi, for an off-the-record
roundtable discussion with recent returnees from high-threat
posts. Schiff subsequently cited AFSA during the committee’s
opening session. AFSA staff also held introductory meetings with
other members of that committee.
Diversity and Equality
AFSA worked diligently with both parties in Congress to secure
strong language in support of diversity outreach, recruitment and
retention efforts by State and USAID in the Senate version of the
State Department authorization bill. Although the legislation was
not introduced, we are committed to continue promoting such
language during the 114th Congress.
In addition, AFSA sought to bring attention to the nega-
tive consequences for both individuals and agencies of the State
Department’s current rules on assignment restrictions that af-
fect diverse groups. AFSA also co-hosted several events with the
Congressional Black Associates, including a panel discussion on
“Diversity in the Foreign Service.” The event brought together dis-
tinguished active-duty and retired professionals to discuss the past
and present of diversity in the foreign affairs agencies.
In response to requests from our members and in collaboration
with Labor Management staff, AFSA initiated a formal dialogue
with U.S. telecommunications carriers and other companies to se-
cure the same benefits currently granted to members of the mili-
tary and other federal employees. We have made similar efforts in
the areas of air travel, health, real estate and taxes.
AFSA continued to advocate more and better services and op-
portunities for Foreign Service family members. We worked with
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) to introduce H.R. 5206, a bill to allow
Foreign Service and other executive agency employees to specifi-
cally designate beneficiaries of their death benefits. The bill passed
out of the House Committee of Foreign Affairs in November, and
we expect it to be reintroduced at some point during the 114th
Congress. We support H.R. 517, Federal Employees Paid Parental
Leave Act, introduced by Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-
N.Y.). This bill would provide four weeks of paid parental leave to
federal employees for the birth, adoption or fostering of a child.
AFSA has also tremendously benefited from the AFSA-PAC which
was created in 2002 and is separate registered entity from AFSA.
The AFSA-PAC supports members of Congress whose policies are
aligned with a stronger Foreign Service.
State VP Matthew Asada and USAID VP Sharon Wayne met with
Aaron Allen, legislative assistant for Congressman Juan Vargas
(D-Calif.) on February 2014.
AFSA’s Matthew Sumrak attended the AFGE Shared Prosperity
Rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, February 2014.