So as you know, Mr. Crab is currently sitting on the waiting list to attend "A-100", the Foreign Service Orientation Course held in Arlington, Virginia. Lately, every A-100 (named for the classroom where it was originally held) class has had about 95-98 students. But strangely, the upcoming January 2010 class only has about 70 students. I'm currently high enough on the ranking that I have a good shot at getting February 2010 class. But now we've learned that invitations are being delayed, because there's no money!
Congress has yet to pass two appropriation bills to fund State Department Activities. The bills in question are HR3081 and S1434: "Making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes." Until these bills are passed, A-100 invitations are at a standstill. The bills were introduced way back in June. I guess that's Congress for you!
Even more frustrating is that even though invitations are on hold, there has been no halt to the Foreign Service Oral Assessment. So if somebody passes with a higher score, and obtains their clearances quickly, they land on the register very high, and everyone else gets pushed down the list. Never mind that some of us took the OA in April or earlier; the rankings are based on score and the date you received your clearances. Many FS candidates complain about the "fairness" of this process but, oh well, that's the way it is!