The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng, D-Flushing, that would better protect American diplomats serving overseas.
The legislation, which was introduced in the wake of the terrorist attack in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, would increase accountability of State Department employees by providing the secretary of state with more power to discipline personnel who put diplomats in danger.
The bill was introduced in March by Rep. Scott Perry, R-Penn., and sponsored by Meng.
“Making it easier for the secretary of state to hold State Department employees more accountable for their actions is a critical step to ensuring that tragedies like Benghazi never occur again,” Meng said.
The bill was introduced following then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s request for such a measure during her testimony earlier this year on the Benghazi attacks.
After the attack, an independent committee that reviewed the incident found that poor performance of State Department staff contributed to inadequate security at the consulate in Libya.
But despite this conclusion, the panel was unable to recommend disciplinary action against any employees because the law requires that their actions be a “breach of duty,” a standard that is difficult to prove.
The Senate will next vote on the measure. If it passes, it will then be sent to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.