Foreign Relations Authorization, FY2004 and FY2005: An Overview [Updated July 21, 2003] [open pdf - 201KB]
From the Summary: "The foreign 'relations' authorization process dovetails with the annual appropriation process for the Department of State (within the Commerce, Justice, State and Related Agency appropriation) and foreign policy/foreign aid activities (within the foreign operations appropriation). Congress is required by law to authorize the spending of appropriations for the State Department and foreign policy activities every two years. Foreign 'assistance' authorization measures (such as authorization for the U.S. Agency for International Development, economic and military assistance to foreign countries, and international population programs) have been merged into the State Department authorization legislation since 1985. Since that time, Congress has not passed a stand-alone foreign assistance authorization bill."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31986