House Foreign Affairs Committee Votes to Advance Schneider Bill to Help Counter Foreign Propaganda

May 9, 2018
Press Release
Bill would strengthen State Department’s Global Engagement Center in wake of Russian interference in 2016 election

Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to advance legislation introduced by U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (IL-10) and Ted Lieu (CA-33) that would strengthen U.S. efforts to counter foreign disinformation and propaganda campaigns.

H.R. 5681, the Global Engagement Center Authorities Act of 2018, clarifies responsibilities for the Global Engagement Center (GEC) within the Department of State as the leader of federal government efforts to address the threat of foreign misinformation, expands GEC hiring authorities, and establishes stronger congressional oversight requirements.

In March 2018, The New York Times reported the GEC had yet to spend any of the $120 million it had been allocated since late 2016 to counter Russian information warfare efforts, nor had it recruited a single analyst who speaks Russian.

“Russia views the upcoming 2018 elections as a target for its disinformation campaigns, and we have to act now to protect our democratic system from foreign interference,” said Schneider. “The Global Engagement Center has a crucial role to play exposing and countering these malicious foreign propaganda efforts. I am grateful for the bipartisan support in Committee for this legislation to strengthen the GEC and will continue to advocate for this bill to advance to the floor for a vote.”

Full text of the legislation is available online.