The Foreign Service Journal, January-February 2019

16 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL TALKING POINTS H.R.7153—Championing American Businesses Through Diplomacy Act O n Nov. 16, Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Representa- tive David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) intro- duced the Championing American Busi- nesses Through Diplomacy Act of 2018. The new law, which will likely have to be reintroduced for consideration in the 116th Congress, would support economic and commercial diplomacy by codify- ing the position of assistant secretary of State for economic and business affairs, responsible for matters pertaining to international economic and business matters in the conduct of foreign policy. It would also require combining the Department of State’s Investment Cli- mate Statement with the Department of Commerce’s Country Commercial Guide to create one annual, country-specific guide focused on critical information companies rely on when assessing whether to do business in a particular country. The bill would also require all embas- sies to submit an annual report to the State Department detailing the specific actions they took in the year prior to help businesses achieve market access and assessing levels of private-sector com- mercial competition from other strategic competitor nations. The Secretary of State would then be required to prepare a report for Congress on general com- mercial diplomacy trends, as well as assessments of commercial activity that could threaten U.S. national security in strategic areas. The bill also emphasizes the need to train our diplomats on matters of com- mercial diplomacy. City of Baltimore Sues Trump Administration O n Nov. 28 the City of Baltimore filed suit against the Trump adminis- tration in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, claiming that the administration secretly changed the State Department’s definition of “public charge,” a provision in immigration law that limits who can immigrate to the United States. According to the suit, the administra- tion recently began enforcing changes it made to the Foreign Affairs Manual in January 2018, making it harder for immi- grants to reunite with their families by barring potential immigrants if they have ever used federal, state or local assistance programs “of any kind,” including school lunches and public vaccination programs. The Baltimore City Solicitor and the nonprofit organization Democracy For- ward teamed up to bring the suit, claim- ing the change hurts Baltimore’s large immigrant community and is a violation of federal law. Ambassador Tracker: Recent Trends S ecretary of State Mike Pompeo’s State Department is rapidly sending forward nominees for ambassadorships. Since July 1, 48 nominations have been announced. These include nominees for long-vacant positions in countries ranging from Ireland and Saudi Arabia to Australia and Qatar. Of those nominees, 36—or 75 percent—are career members of the Foreign Service. However, the Senate has slowed significantly in its processing and con- firmation of nominations. Since July 1, Y ou know you need a go bag. They’ve been telling you this at every post arrival briefing since you joined the Foreign Service. But do you have one yet? It’s a daunting task, pulling together all the pieces you might need for some future unspec- ified emergency, and it’s a task that’s easy to neglect when you’re constantly bidding and packing and moving and unpacking. That’s where Let’s Go! Bags comes in. Started by Richard Miles, a Foreign Service family member currently based in Gaborone, offers curated suggestions and checklists for what to put in your own go bag, sometimes called a “Bug Out Bag.”The “Go!Bag”motto is “go fast—stay safe.” The site offers pre-built kits, as well as options to design your own bag using an assortment of products that Miles has researched and road-tested. Speak- ing of roads, he’s also got suggestions for your car kit, your first aid kit, and even a pet kit. The site brings in a bit of revenue through Amazon affiliate links. We feature this website not to promote particular products but to let read- ers know about a useful resource for suggestions on what you need to have on hand when you have to be ready to go. No more excuses. It’s time to finally put that go bag together. SITE OF THE MONTH: WWW.LETSGOBAGS.COM