Comments on S. 2790

B-199487: Published: Aug 7, 1980. Publicly Released: Aug 7, 1980.

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GAO reviewed S. 2790, a proposed bill to limit the amount that may be obligated by any agency of the Federal Government for contracts in each of the last 3 months of any fiscal year. GAO found that the specific amount of the limitation is not critical. What is critical is that the needed management improvements be made in the budget execution process. It is indicated that yearend surges take place not only in the area of contracts but also in grants and other areas. Broadening coverage, rather than limiting coverage only to contracts, could increase the effectiveness in terms of bringing attention to the full scope of the problem. A temporary rather than permanent limit is desirable. The proposal should include a requirement for evaluation of the effectiveness of the limitation after a trial period. GAO considers the element critical to solving this problem to be management attention to the quality, not just the quantity, of spending. Many possible limits could be used to convey concern to try to bring about the needed emphasis on the budget execution process.

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