From the Summary: "This report identifies the legislative origins of General Provisions that pertain to foreign aid in the current Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2009 (division J of the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009; P.L. 111-8; 123 Stat. 524 at 831). Foreign assistance law requires Congress to authorize funding for programs before appropriated funds are spent. Through 1985, Congress regularly enacted new authorization legislation or amended the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, the foundation of U.S. foreign aid policy, to update authorization time frames, and to incorporate newer programs and authorities. After 1986, however, Congress turned more frequently to enacting freestanding authorities that did not amend the 1961 Act, or included language in annual appropriations measures to waive the requirement to keep authorizations current. Over time, as enactment of foreign aid reauthorizations waned, the General Provisions of foreign operations appropriations measures increasingly became the place for Congress to assert its views on the role and use of U.S. foreign aid policy, put limits or conditions on assistance, or even authorize new programs."
CRS Report for Congress, R40557