Portman, Murphy Amendment to Fight Global Propaganda and Disinformation Passes Foreign Relations Committee, Heads to the Senate Floor

April 21, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Murphy (D-CT), both members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Wednesday welcomed passage of their amendment to authorize $150 million in FY22 funding for the Global Engagement Center (GEC) in order to counter propaganda and disinformation from countries like China and Russia, as well as foreign non-state actors. This authorization represents a $90 million increase over the amount Congress appropriated for the GEC in FY21. The bipartisan amendment passed as part of the Strategic Competition Act of 2021 (S. 1169).

“State sponsored disinformation is a threat to democratic societies throughout the world. As we see today with Russian aggression in Ukraine or with vaccines, these tactics are inexpensive, easily deniable and can be devastatingly effective if left unchecked,” said Portman. “The Global Engagement Center is the United States Government's agency that coordinates our interagency efforts to combat disinformation abroad, and has proved effective at assisting our allies push back against Chinese and Russian disinformation efforts. This increase in funding is much needed and will provide the GEC with the resources it needs to continue to effectively help our allies throughout the globe.”

“Propaganda and misinformation threaten the United States and our allies every single day, and we need to get smart in the way we fight it. By passing our bipartisan amendment, Congress is taking necessary steps to ensure the Global Engagement Center has the resources required to counter our adversaries abroad and help small democracies stand on their own two feet,” said Murphy.

Portman and Murphy introduced the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act, which was signed into law in December 2016. The law improved the ability of the United States to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation by establishing the Global Engagement Center (GEC), which is charged with leading the U.S. government’s efforts to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation. The Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act authorized the State Department to request $60 million annually for two years from the Department of Defense for the GEC to help counter foreign propaganda and disinformation being waged against the United States and our allies by state and non-state adversaries.