The Office of Regional, Global, and Functional Affairs interacts with Congress on the Department’s full range of policy issues of interest to the Congress. The office’s Legislative Management Officers are the principal substantive liaison officers between Department bureaus and Congressional offices. It works in close cooperation with the Department bureaus in briefings on administration policy and manages Congressional appearances of Department witnesses for foreign policy hearings.
The Bureau of Legislative Affairs annually handles approximately:
- 2,400 congressional briefings;
- 2,500 congressional hearings;
- 2,600 pieces of congressional correspondence;
- 650 congressional reports and notifications; and
- 2,000 congressional members and staff overseas travelers.
Legislative Reference Unit
The Legislative Reference Unit (LRU) oversees the coordination and clearance functions of the Bureau of Legislative Affairs with respect to legislation and reports. The office monitors all significant legislation involving the Department and serves as the liaison in the legislative clearance process, coordinating views between OMB, National Security Council, and other executive agencies. The process used for coordinating views is the Legislative Reference Memorandum (LRM). Items sent through this process include: proposed or draft legislation, executive orders, proclamations, Statements of Administration Policy (SAP), enrolled bills, Administration testimony for Congressional hearings, and reports required by legislative activities. In addition, the LRU is responsible for coordinating and maintaining the system that identifies, tasks, and tracks reports to Congress, required by law and by legislative history, which are prepared for signature and submission by the Secretary of State or their designee.
Congressional Correspondence Unit
The Congressional Correspondence Unit (CCU) receives and tracks all written correspondence from Members of Congress. The CCU coordinates Questions for the Record (QFRs) for all Department witnesses. The CCU also assists in the confirmation process for ambassadorial nominations. In addition, the CCU responds to telephone inquiries from congressional offices seeking information related to Department programs, policies, and publications.
Congressional Travel Office
The Congressional Travel Office (CTO) facilitates official foreign travel arrangements for Members’ of Congress and their staff. The CTO is responsible for all logistical aspects of Congressional travel including notification to Posts abroad, compilation of itineraries and scheduling.