Even by U.S. government standards (not a high one these days), the State Department’s budget process is a mess.

In almost every budget cycle, billions and billions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars get allocated to the State Department in the last minute without proper congressional debate or substantive hearings.

As a consequence, opaqueness and bureaucratic confusion characterizes the agency that runs U.S. embassies and its diplomatic corps, conducts international negotiations, oversees international aid, pursues arms control negotiations, and funds U.S. international broadcasting, membership in international organizations, refugee policy, and much besides.

To their credit, House Republicans are trying to do something about this indefensible state of affairs. The House Foreign Affairs Committee on June 26 announced plans to start work on a State Department Authorization Bill for fiscal year (FY) 2013.

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