On September 8, Congress reconvened for its expected final 16 legislative days prior to the scheduled adjournment date of September 26 for the 2008 elections. A compressed legislative calendar combined with heightened political tensions and an ongoing budget stalemate between the Administration and Congress ensures that few, if any, spending bills will be enacted into law. Congress is expected to enact a Continuing Resolution (CR) effective from October 1, 2008 to March 2009, thus postponing any further budget negotiations until a new Administration is sworn into office.
Prior to leaving for its summer recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs unanimously approved their respective versions of a $36.6 billion FY09 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. When combined with the $1.3 billion in international food aid and the $300 million transfer from the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill, the FY09 International Affairs Budget stands at $38.2 billion.